The director of EPFL Space Center (eSpace), Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib visited SAA at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on November 27, 2019. During the event, Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib gave a fascinating lecture on“Towards a Sustainable Ecosystem: from Debris Removal to Space Logistics”. Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib has been the Director of the EPFL Space Center since July 2017 and the Director of the Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO) since April 2016. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in the fields of astrophysics and observational research.
In his lecture, Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib gave insights into the problems that may occur in the near future due to man-made orbital debris. He pointed out that space debris could limit the use of space infrastructure as a whole. A calculation carried out in 2018 shows that out of the 23,500 satellites currently present, only 1,650 are still active. Moreover, the sustainable use of space without binding rules becomes increasingly difficult, especially taking into account the involvement of the private sector. For this reason, the EPFL Space Center has launched the Clean Space One project, which aims to develop and build the first tranche of a satellite family specifically designed for space debris cleaning. The Clean Space One project began ten years ago with the launch of SwissCube, the first Swiss satellite sent into space. A further highlight of the lecture was the presentation of a new initiative on sustainable space logistics, conducted by the EPFL Space Center with the support of the European Space Agency.
The interaction between Prof. Kneib and the faculty members and students of Shanghai Jiao Tong University was very active, many questions were discussed after the speech. We believe that EPFL will continue to achieve exceptional results in the field of astrophysics and observational research. We would also like to thank Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib and Dr. Mohammad Madi (Business Development Lead at EPFL Space Center [eSpace]) for a highly rewarding afternoon.