21st European Space Mechanisms
and Tribology Symposium
Organised by EPFL
24th – 26th September, 2025

Aim & Scope

Attracting space scientists, mechanism designers and engineers from all over the world, the aims of the symposium are:

  • To foster a dialogue between space mechanisms engineers on the design, development, testing, production and in-flight experience of spacecraft and payload mechanisms to encourage personal contacts in the mechanisms and tribology community
  • To provide a networking opportunity as well as a presentation platform for companies and organisations
  • To encourage the transfer of technology to and from space applications
  • To promote awareness that space opportunities afford sustainable industrial growth

Organising Committee

Affiliation (Function in ESMATS 2023)
Lionel Gaillard
The Netherlands
Gilles Feusier
EPFL (Co-Chair)
Manfred Falkner
ESA/ESTEC (Deputy Chair)
The Netherlands
Jonathan Wood
Lockheed Martin (US Coordinator)
Jean-Luc Bozet
Université de Liège
Carlos Compostizo
SENER Aerospatial
Frederic Courtade
Xavier Francois
Thales Alenia Space
Harald Langenbach
Airbus Defence & Space
Simon Lewis
ESTL-ESR Technology
United Kingdom
Johan Mürer
Mathieu Robroek
Airbus Defence & Space
The Netherlands
Samuel Senese
OHB Systems AG
Marta Tokarz
Astronika Sp z o.o.
Beat Zahnd
Beyond Gravity Schweiz AG

Key Themes

The areas listed below are expected to be the major themes for the Symposium. Papers presenting hardware and covering these areas, coming from European and non-European entities, are specifically encouraged. Though all abstracts submitted will be given due consideration.

  • Mechanisms Design, Analysis, Manufacturing, Assembly, Integration and Testing
    • Lessons learned from qualification
    • Descriptions of novel and challenging designs
    • New methods for design, analysis, simulations and testing of mechanisms
    • Design Guidelines, high reliability
    • Design/manufacturing/verification for high-volume production
    • Design for disturbance attenuation, low shock, low noise performance
  • Components/Equipment
    • Motors, actuators, transmission devices, bearings
    • Hold-down/release, deployment, pointing, scanning, high-precision and high performance devices
    • Wheels, mechanical coolers, pumps, valves, solar array drive mechanisms, etc.
    • Sensors, miniaturisation of space mechanisms
  • Tribology and Materials
    • Lubricants and lubrication for bearings, gears, joints, electrical contacts
    • Application of smart materials in mechanisms
    • Extreme temperatures, environments, and operating conditions, long term storage
    • New tribo-materials and /or surface modification
    • Tribology for micro/nano-tribology
  • Launch Vehicles
    • Separation systems, engine/propulsion regulation, gimballing devices, turbopumps
  • In-Orbit Performance and Post-flight Investigations
    • Experience with flown hardware, including reports on in-flight mechanism performance and anomalies, lessons learned
    • Post-flight investigation of mechanisms and tribological components
  • Science Observatories, Earth Remote Sensing, and Planetary Exploration Mechanisms
    • Mechanisms for manipulations, robots, rovers
    • Sampling systems and in-situ analysis devices
    • Mechanical devices for science and remote sensing instruments
  • Space Platforms, Tethers, Re-entry Vehicle Mechanisms
    • Mechanisms for re-entry vehicles and the International Space Station
    • Long-term mechanism operation and maintenance in space

Best Paper Award

Since ESMATS 2019 the ESMATS committee have awarded a «Best presentation award» to the best presentation during the ESMATS symposium. A trophy will be awarded at the end of the Symposium.

The “Best presentation Award” will be attributed based on both paper content and presentation quality, the criteria being :

  • Relevance to space mechanisms and tribology
  • Topic based on lessons learnt
  • Topic based on hardware test results
  • Originality/novelty of the innovation presented
  • Quality and clarity of presentation
  • Quality and clarity of the presenter

History of ESMATS

Year Location Proceedings Best Paper Award
2023 Warsaw, Poland On-line only – not formally published Title: Novel Concepts for On-Ground Deployment Testing of Large Antenna Structures
Authors: C. Freier, I. Moneva, S. Schwarz, V. Mutafov
Download paper
2021 Online, WWW On-line only – not formally published Title: Evolution of the ExoMars Sample Crushing Unit from Breadboard to Flight Model
Authors: Daniel Redlich, Robert Paul, Tim Tattusch, Christiane Bergemann, Samuel Senese, Fabio Musso, Stephen Durrant
Download paper
2019 Munich, Germany On-line only, not formally published. Title: ICI LLD – A Rocky Road to a Successful Development
Authors: Geert Smet, Alessandro Bursi, Luis Ordoñez Peña, Christian Hehr, Matteo Giacomazzo
Download paper
2017 Hatfield, United Kingdom ISBN 978-90-827435-0-0
2015 Bilbao, Spain ESA SP-737
2013 Noordwijk, The Netherlands ESA SP-718
2011 Constance, Germany ESA SP-698
2009 Vienna, Austria ESA SP-670
2007 Liverpool, United Kingdom ESA SP-653
2005 Lucerne, Switzerland ESA-SP-591
2003 San Sebastian, Spain ESA-SP-524
2001 Liege, Begium ESA-SP-480
1999 Toulouse, France ESA-SP-438
1997 Noordwijk, The Netherlands ESA SP-410
1995 Zurich, Switzerland ESA SP-374
1992 Noordwijk, The Netherlands ESA SP-334
1989 Cannes, France ESA SP-299
1987 Madrid, Spain ESA SP-279
1985 Schloss Meersburg, Germany ESA SP-231
1983 Neuchatel, Switzerland ESA SP-196