Czech Space Week strives to bring a bit of space to everyone

Space enthusiasts from the Czech Republic and beyond are in for a treat. Starting on Saturday, Prague and Brno will host Czech Space Week, a nine-day-long series of events that will bring together scientists, businessmen and government officials who are active in the area.

It is not just major “-eight” anniversaries, such as 1918 and 1968, that Czechs are commemorating this year. There are in fact two anniversaries that mark the establishment of the Czech footprint in space. In 1978, Vladimír Remek became the first Czech man in space traveling aboard the Soviet Sojuz 28 and a few months later the first Czech satellite, Magion 1, was launched into the earth’s orbit as well.

To commemorate these achievements and boost awareness of the current Czech space research, the Transport Ministry along with CzechInvest has declared 2018 as “Czech Space Year”. The project is set to reach its crescendo for a nine-day period starting from Saturday, when Prague and Brno will play host to a series of events, as one of the organisers, Kristina Svobodová, explains.

“Czech Space Week offers a variety of events throughout the whole of next week for both the general and expert public, but also for businesses. What we plan to have is a broad programme including conferences, industry days as well as open days at several space related institutions, such as the astronomical institute and the European GNSS Agency.

Galileo Navigation Satellite System, photo: ESAGalileo Navigation Satellite System, photo: ESA “There will also be cultural events such as movie screenings and sci-fi movie music concerts. Our aim is to bring a bit of space to everyone.”

The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency that Ms. Svobodová mentions is the EU’s institution that runs the Galileo and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) programmes. These offer an alternative to the established American system Global Positioning System.

Since 2008 the organisation’s headquarters are based in Prague’s Holešovice district and the ESA also offers a business incubatory service.

Ms. Svobodová says that tens of Czech companies are currently working on important space projects and that many of them will be featured at Space Week.

Those interested in finding out more about the Czech space programme as well as the job and business opportunities it offers can find the programme here: www.czechspaceyear.com/czech-space-week

“We have more than 40 companies that are participating in the European Space Agency project and a lot of them are also working for NASA. To give some examples, the batteries for the Curiosity rover or a part of the launch pad for the Ariane 6 rocket are Czech products.

“We are quite good at bringing things up stream, but space technologies are not all about getting things to space. Czech companies are also particularly good at using earth observation data and navigation, which is also why the GSA is based here.”