The 2010 Space Propulsion Congress brought together some 500 international experts in aerospace propulsion systems in the Basque city of Donostia-San Sebastián. The latest technological advances were made known, including those that will make reaching Mars possible in the future as well as other planets such as Mercury.
Space Propulsion, the main international forum in the aerospace propulsion industry, managed to double the number of participants registered compared to the previous Congress, held in 2008 on the Greek island of Crete. Amongst those attending the Congress at the Kursaal Centre in the Basque city were the top experts in satellite and space vehicle motors from NASA, Russia, China, Japan and Europe.
The Congress, held between the 3rd and the 6th of May, was organised by Tecnalia Technological Corporation, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Aeronautic and Astronautic Association of France (3AF). Also taking part were the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and ASI Aerospace. It should be pointed out that Tecnalia, besides being sponsors, had its own stand and presented four papers.
The 2010 Space Propulsion Congress was a meeting place for promoting national and international relations amongst members of the scientific community involved in space propulsion. One of the main objectives of the meeting was precisely to encourage and boost working together between the various enterprises and the European technological centres that are investigating new systems of aerospace propulsion.
The Congress was inaugurated by Mr J.J. Dordain, general director of the ESA and by Mr Maurici Lucena, general director of the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). Directors of the principal space agencies and aerospace propulsion companies took part in the event.
During the Congress a number of flight experiments using electrically-driven motors for operation in space were presented, as well as missions such as the GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) satellite from ESA and developments in HET (Hall Effect Thruster) type motors.
Planetary exploration missions; space shuttles; chemical, solid and electrical systems for propulsion; and green propellants were also a focus of debate in the technical sessions held over the four days of the Congress.