Skip to content


ESA Staff Hands-On in ESTL Lab

28th May 2024

Last week, ESTL hosted staff from the European Space Agency (ESA) for “Hands-On Training”.  This annual course is our opportunity to showcase what we do and how we support industry.  More importantly, the course provides our ESA colleagues the opportunity to learn first-hand a little more about space tribology as well as to be updated about our processes, techniques and advanced test facilities. Over the two days our guests also had several opportunities to test their manual dexterity by actually doing some of the work, supervised by our own experts in the cleanroom.

Since ESA’s experts oversee many activities across Europe, it makes sense for them to understand not only the state of the art for tribological testing and analytical techniques in development for lubricant assessment but also the specialised processes we use in preparation of components for space flight.

The training session was very well received by ESA trainees,  Dr Kobyé Bodjona, Alain Blanc and Sebastian Brunner, all experts in space mechanisms – and now a little more informed about space tribology too! Kobyé kindly commented that  “It has been a privilege to receive hands-on training over these past few days from some of the leading experts in the field of space tribology. Our visit left us with a clear impression that ESTL possesses outstanding know-how, processes, and facilities. We also commend the innovative R&D you are conducting, which is helping to keep Europe at the forefront of this important field. This will serve us well in the future, as tribology is key to the development of highly reliable space mechanisms ”.

ESA’s Dr Kobyé Bodjona & Alain Blanc setting-up a test on ESTL’s unique Vacuum Mini Traction Machine (VMTM), supervised by Dr Anthony Kent (in blue)

ESA’s Sebastian Brunner who has just set-up a test on ESTL’s Spiral Orbit Tribometer (SOT).