The Mechanical Department is responsible for executing activities in the following domains:
Automation and roboticsLife and Physical Sciences InstrumentationLife SupportOpticsOpto-ElectronicsStructuresMechanismsMaterialsThermal ControlPropulsion and Aero-ThermodynamicsVerification of Space Vehicles Systems and Subsystems
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Jose Gavira Izquierdo

Head of Mechanical Department

The 300 engineers in the Mechanical Department at ESTEC face the challenge of designing, analysing and testing the broad range of space mechanical systems and instruments required for Space, advising ESA projects and implementing R&D studies to develop technologies for future missions.


Thermal Division

Thermal engineering, design, analysis and testing of space systems, covering active and passive thermal control systems.

Structures, Mechanisms and Materials Division

The division is responsible for the technical and strategic management of all areas related to spacecraft and launcher structures, mechanisms, tribology, pyrotechnic devices and materials and their related manufacturing processes, including support to failure investigations.

Propulsion, AeroThermodynamics and Flight Vehicles Engineering Division

The division is responsible for the technical and strategic management of all areas related to chemical, electric and advanced propulsion, and aerothermodynamics analysis and verification.

Mechatronics and Optics Division

The place to develop key innovative technologies to maintain ESA leadership in Optical remote-sensing instrumentation, for science and Earth observation missions, as well as to support a sustainable Space Exploration Programme demanding challenging Robotics and Life Science technologies, to facilitate Human exploration beyond low Earth.
Related labs

Automation and Robotics Laboratories

ESA's Automation and Robotics group is responsible for the creation and maintenance of an industrial technology base for the automation and remote control of space based operations. As such, the domain of competence of the group includes the specification and control of space robotics systems (from manipulators to autonomous vehicles) and laboratory supporting automation and robotics in manned and unmanned missions.

ESA Propulsion Laboratory

Life Support and Physical Sciences Instrumentation Laboratory

Supports work on life and physical sciences instrumentation and experiments for microgravity research, life support and environmental control and other exploration related activities.

Mechanical Systems Laboratory

Satellite equipment and instruments must be thermally controlled to withstand the very harsh environment of space. They must also survive the tough ride to orbit. The Mechanical Systems Laboratory performs thermal and mechanical testing for small-scale space equipment and payloads.

Optics and Opto-Electronics Laboratory

The Optics and Opto-Electronics Laboratory (OOEL) is a joint laboratory of the Optics (TEC-MMO) and Opto-Electronics (TEC-MME) sections at ESTEC. The OOEL provides expert advice with a state-of-the-art laboratory.


To ensure the readiness of an entire satellite ESA has created a 3000 square meters cleanroom complex nestled in sandy dunes along the Dutch coast, filled with test equipment to simulate all aspects of spaceflight: the ESTEC Test Centre.
Related news

12th International Conference on Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems (GNC)


13th European Space Power Conference – ESPC 2023


European Data Handling & Data Processing Conference – EDHPC 2023


1st Space Microwave Week

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