Donald J. Kessler

Donald J. Kessler (born 1940) is an American astrophysicist and former NASA scientist known for his studies regarding space debris. Kessler worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as part of NASA's Environmental Effects Project Office. While there, he developed what is now known as the Kessler syndrome, which posits that collisions between space debris become increasingly likely as the density of space debris increases in orbit around the earth, and a cascade effect results as each collision in turn creates more debris that can cause further collisions. Kessler first published his ideas in 1978, in an academic paper titled "Collision Frequency of Artificial Satellites: The Creation of a Debris Belt. The paper established Kessler's reputation, and NASA subsequently made him the head of the newly created Orbital Debris Program Office to study the issue and establish guidelines to slow the accumulation of space debris. Kessler retired from NASA in 1996, and has maintained a website with his publications and contact information. He currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina. He continues to be active in the field of orbital debris.


International Astronautical Congress 2022

18-22 September 2022

Paris, France