UMD CODER Announces Keynote Speakers from Across Industry, Government and Academe for Inaugural 2014 Orbital Debris Workshop

College Park, Md.—The University of Maryland Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research (CODER) has announced speakers and panelists for the inaugural 2014 Orbital Debris Workshop. The workshop connects individuals and research from across academe, industry and government to foster collaboration and promote the long-term goal of developing policies, laws and systems leading to the effective remediation and control of orbital debris.

The three-day workshop features keynote speaker Donald Kessler, NASA's first senior scientist for orbital debris. Dubbed the 'Father of Orbital Debris,' Kessler first proposed the Kessler syndrome, a domino effect for space debris collisions. He has published over 100 papers relating to orbital debris and has won numerous awards for his pioneering work. Though retired from NASA, Kessler continues to work as an orbital debris consultant.

"While our infrastructure has become more dependent on space, the environment has continued to degrade despite international mitigation efforts," says Kessler. "A policy of aggressive remediation is now needed in order to maintain a sustainable space environment, and that policy has yet to be developed."

Additional keynotes and panel participants include:

  • Richard DalBello, Assistant Director, Space and Aeronautics, Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation
  • Josef Koller, Space Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Thomas Cremins, Senior Advisor to the NASA Administrator for Policy and Strategy Implementation, NASA Headquarters
  • Richard Buenneke, Senior Space Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of State
  • Pamela Whitney, Minority Professional Staff, Space Subcommittee, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

"Our goal with this and future workshops is to promote an open exchange among the science, technology, economic, policy and law interests," says CODER Director Raymond Sedwick.  "We also want to bring awareness of both the urgency of the problem and what's available in current state of the art technology to the decision makers—right in their own backyard." 

The event includes special guest speakers Leonard David, prolific space journalist and author, and Roger Launius, National Air and Space Museum's Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs.

David has written about space issues for over 45 years, co-authored "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration" with Buzz Aldrin and served regularly as a space consultant.

Launius served as chief historian at NASA from 1990 to 2002, written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history, including Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space and lectured widely on historical subjects to military, academic, technical and general audiences.

The workshop will also feature a series of panels with experts from across government agencies such as NASA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and over a dozen aerospace businesses and universities.

Panelists will discuss topics in: Policy and Security; Technology; Threats to National Security; Debris Field Modeling and Simulation; Current Practices and Research; Remediation Architectures and Technologies; and Orbital Debris Research Priorities.

The workshop will be November 18-20, 2014 at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in College Park, Md.

CODER is the first academically led center established to address the full range of issues surrounding the orbital debris problem. The center aims to build connections across industries, government agencies and academic institutions to create a research collective and provide expertise to address all issues related to orbital debris management and mitigation.

For more information or to register, visit


Published October 29, 2014