Dr. Gerhard Drolshagen studied physics at the Universities of Giessen and Göttingen. He received his Doctor Degree at the University of Göttingen in 1981. He was a Post-Doc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, USA and then a Scientific Assistant at the Max-Planck Institut für Strömungsforschung in Göttingen. In 1987 he joined the European Space Agency at its Research Center ESTEC in Noordwijk, The Netherlands where he worked until the end of 2016.
At ESA he worked as a senior analyst in the Space Environments & Effects Section at ESTEC. He was involved in many aspects of the space environment, like the analysis of surface and internal charging effects, ionizing radiation, and atomic oxygen in the upper atmosphere. In later years the main emphasis of his work was on the study of meteoroids and space debris fluxes and their effects on orbiting spacecraft. Since 2009 he was co-manager of the near-Earth object segment of ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Programme. This SSA-NEO programme addresses all NEO related aspects from observations, orbit calculation and predictions of potential impacts with Earth to the assessment of NEO mitigation options. Since its creation in 2014 he chaired for many years the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) which was initiated by the United Nations and assesses options to prevent the impact of a threatening object from space. Since 2017 he is supporting the new group on Space Environment Studies at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg by supervising students and giving a lecture on the space environment. He also provides consultancy to ESA in the NEO field. Asteroid 332733 is named ‘Drolshagen’ to honour him as a driving force of the European NEO Programme.