Since the country joined the European Space Agency (ESA) 10 years ago, the Czech space industry has seen a growth both in size and capabilities. Now the director of the Czech Aeronautical Research Institute says the groundwork in expertise and resources has been laid for the country to take the next step.
Despite visionary CEO Elon Musk’s initial fears, the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, proved a major success. The rocket makes possible a heavy-lift capacity last seen with the Saturn V rockets which sent astronauts to the moon. Czech Radio spoke to SpaceX sole Czech employee David Pavlík.
There are a handful of Czechs who are part of the booming hi-tech new economy on the US West coast and more specifically in Silicon Valley. But few could boast a career that over the last decade has been littered with the names of so many of the large multinational US companies in the forefront of technology and its applications as Zlín native David Pavlík. His career has jumped from Microsoft, to Amazon, multinational pay for film company Netflix, and currently the private company at the cutting edge of the new space race, SpaceX.
A new book of stunning photographs from Space by former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao published by the Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery was launched in Prague this week. Chiao’s photos, shot in orbit some 400 kilometres above the Earth, were taken from four separate missions between 1994 and 2005. On the occasion of the book launch, Czech Radio’s Miroslav Krupička asked the astronaut about how the idea for the book, due to also come out in English and Chinese, came together after he and Sklenář met.
Former astronaut Charles Duke, who flew to the moon as part of Apollo 16, is in Prague for the opening of an exhibition called Gateway to Space. Duke, who turns 80 this year, told news website iDnes he would “love to return to the moon” where he said he had not felt afraid but “at home”. Duke, who was born in Charlotte, South Carolina, studied at West Point and is an engineer and retired army pilot. He was the 10th and also the youngest person to walk on the moon’s surface, in 1972. In Prague the former astronaut stressed the importance of the pursuit of new space missions, including missions to Mars.