European Space Agency (ESA)Director General

Born in Austria, Josef Aschbacher studied at the University of Innsbruck, graduating with a Master’s degree and a PhD in natural sciences. He has had an accomplished international career in space, combining more than 35 years’ work experience at ESA, the European Commission, the Austrian Space Agency, the Asian Institute of Technology and the University of Innsbruck.

As Chief Executive Officer of ESA, Dr Aschbacher is responsible for the definition, implementation and development of Europe’s space infrastructure and activities, which include launchers, satellites performing Earth observation, navigation, telecommunication and space science, together with robotic exploration and ESA astronauts working on the International Space Station. He is responsible for an annual budget of €7 billion and a workforce of 5500 distributed across several establishments, principally in Europe.

When taking up office as ESA Director General, Dr Aschbacher published a new strategy for space in Europe, called 'Agenda 2025', aimed at accelerating significantly the use of space in Europe through major new initiatives and programmes.

In 2021, Dr Aschbacher became 'Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana', the highest recognition accorded to non-Italian nationals.


International Astronautical Congress 2024

14-18 October 2024

Milan, Italy


IAF Spring Meetings 2024

26-28 March 2024

Paris, France


The Global Space Exploration Conference 2021

14-18 June 2021

St. Petersburg, Russia


International Astronautical Congress 2017

25-29 September 2017

Adelaide, Australia


International Astronautical Congress 2016

26-30 September 2016

Guadalajara, Mexico


The Global Conference on Space and the Information Society 2016

6-7 June 2016

Geneva, Switzerland