The year was 1989. It was the year when the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) satellite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Duration_Exposure_Facility ) was brought back to Earth from almost a five-year stay in low Earth orbit (LEO). A number of successful LDEF meetings in USA followed, where the results from exposure of numerous materials to LEO orbit environment were discussed. The UTIAS materials scientific team led by Prof. Tennyson, who was one of the principal investigators on the UTIAS LDEF Material’s experiment, participated in the LDEF community meetings. Working closely with the space materials group at the UTIAS, Dr. Kleiman, then a Research Scientist with the R&D Group of 3M Canada and an Adjunct Professor at the UTIAS, soon realized that the North American space environment community, when the LDEF meetings were stopped, is lacking a meeting place where the latest developments in new materials, their behavior in LEO and other space environments, the results from ground based experiments and from flights can be shared and discussed. And that is how the first ICPMSE meeting was initiated in 1991.
Another, very instrumental factor in the initiation of the ICPMSE series of conferences was the Canadian Space Agency’s Strategic Technologies for Automation and Robotics (STEAR) Program. Through the STEAR Program, CSA promoted the advancement of strategic space technologies, including those contributing to the longevity of materials and structures in the space environment. As part of this effort, a program on development of new protective coatings was conducted during the period 1991-1995. The first ICPMSE meeting was devoted largely to the results of this STEAR program.
With years, however, the meeting became a focal gathering point in North America for scientists, researchers, managers, students and academicians to discuss the latest developments in the area of interaction of materials and structures with the harsh space environment. Initially, the ICPMSE meetings were focused, mainly, on the effects of the low Earth orbit environment on materials. But with time it became clear that there is an intimate relationship between the various space environment factors and gradually, the scope of the meetings widened, including also the GEO and other environments. Also, following the worldwide space community plans for the colonization of the Moon and Mars, it was decided to add to the topics of the ICPMSE meetings the planetary and the interplanetary environments.
Very soon, from being a North American event, the ICPMSE meetings became a truly international event, attracting scientists from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.
Being a biannual event, the ICPMSE meeting coincided in the year 2000 with another international meeting, the International Symposium on Materials in a Space Environment (ISMSE) that was organized since 1979 in Europe by CNES, ONERA and ESA every three years. A mutual decision was made by the ICPMSE and ISMSE organizers to conduct in such “coinciding” years both meetings jointly in Europe. First such joined meeting was conducted in the year 2000 in Arcachon (ICPMSE-5/ISMSE-8). The next such meeting was in 2006 in Collioure, France (ICPMSE-8/ ISMSE-10).
Starting from the 3rd ICPMSE meeting in 1998, Dr. Kleiman initiated the publishing of the Proceedings of the meetings as peer reviewed hard-cover books with such reputable publishing houses as Kluwer, Springer and the American Institute of Physics.
In addition to such publications, the papers presented at the ICPMSE meetings were repeatedly published in special editions of such peer-reviewed journals as Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and in High Performance Polymers.
With many countries joining the space community and actively contributing to the space environmental studies, it was the next logical step to extend the organizational effort of the ICPMSE meetings to other organizations and countries. Since Japan became one of the major players in the area of exploration of the effects of the space environment on materials it was logical to bring the ICPMSE meeting to Japan.
And for these reasons, the jubilee 10th ICPMSE meeting will be organized jointly between Canada and Japan and will take place between 12 and 17 June, 2011 in Okinawa, Japan.
The images that are accompanying this write-up present some mementos from the past meetings and provide a brief account of the past meetings’ Proceedings.