The research and development activities of satellite mechanical systems at ESA are driven by the requirements of future European space programmes, evolution of technologies resulting in new technical capabilities, and the need to reduce the cost, to increase the reliability of the European space effort and to improve the competitiveness of the European space industry. Technology developments require in many cases several years from initial concept to technological readiness, and this needs to be taken into account when considering satellite mission requirements. On the other hand difficulties encountered with the performance of existing mechanical system need to be resolved in a shorter timescale. Agency research and development activities of mechanical systems include: - new materials applications- design and manufacture techniques - structural dynamics and low disturbance environment - high precision reflectors - vibroacoustics - meteoroid and debris protection - tribology - pyrotechnics The activities take into account requirements of future space missions for science, earth observation, telecommunications, launchers, and microgravity applications. There are efforts to improve the competitive edge of space industry for example through the European Coordination for Space Standardization (ECSS).