University of Maryland Research Center Tackles Tough Orbital Debris Issues

UMD workshop gathers participants from across NASA, industry, academe and beyond to discuss orbital debris challenges impacting the future of space activities.

Nov 06, 2014, 13:00 ET from University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Orbital debris is not just the stuff of Hollywood drama, but it is a growing threat to space-based communications, global infrastructure and the future of space exploration.  

The University of Maryland Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research (CODER) will tackle issues in orbital debris policy, mediation and mitigation at their 2014 Orbital Debris Workshop. The event will take place November 18-20 in College Park, Md.

Featured keynote speakers include 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. When one piece of space debris hits another, it generates more and more individual pieces, adding to the growing field of objects hurtling around the earth.

"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:

  • 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." 

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

SOURCE University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering