Aschbacher prevailed against more than 100 competitors. In the future, he will be in charge of the largest directorate in the ESA, with an annual budget of EUR 1.5 billion.
Aschbacher is the first Austria to ever assume the position of an ESA director. In the future, he will be part of a ten-person team of directors determining the destiny of the European Space Agency ESA together with Director General Jan Wörner. His responsibilities encompass all earth observation missions and the related applications, for example in the fields of climate research, land use, meteorology and environmental protection. European is still in the lead with respect to these issues, ahead of the USA.