Woman with telescope watching the stars. Stargazing woman and night sky.

Dozens of Czech Firms and Experts Involved In European Space Agency Projects

The Czech Republic joined the ESA 15 years ago. More than 60 Czech companies are directly involved in ESA projects and dozens more are contractors. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) – Czech companies, research and academic institutions have participated in more than 600 projects of the European Space Agency (ESA), the agency which coordinates the cooperation of European countries on space missions, launch vehicles and research, the Transport Ministry announced in a press release yesterday.

The Czech Republic joined the ESA 15 years ago. More than 60 Czech companies are directly involved in ESA projects and dozens more are contractors.

More than 20 Czech academic institutions and space research centres cooperate with the ESA. Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) said Czech firms and academic institutions have benefited well from the country’s accession to the ESA, and the Czech Republic has been among the countries dedicated to innovative and progressive solutions with a wide range of applications in industry as well as everyday life.

The Czech Republic invests more than CZK 1.5 billion annually in the ESA. The planned cuts in next year’s budget will not affect space activities because these investments are beneficial for the country, Kupka said. “For every crown spent on space activities, seven to eight crowns are returned to our economy. Thus, investing in space activities in ESA definitely pays off for us,” he stressed.

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) said membership in the European Space Agency is also important for the geopolitical anchorage and security of the country. “Czech foreign policy advocates peaceful, transparent and responsible behaviour in the exploration and use of space. Recently, the Czech Republic has also acceded to the Artemis Accords, which set out principles for the peaceful exploration of space,” he noted.

Czech companies are working within the ESA on a range of technological projects, such as flexible solar panels, high-precision optics including growth of single crystals with special properties, radiation monitors and shielding, and the use of satellite navigation in precision agriculture, aviation or railways. Czech scientists are involved in major missions such as the EUCLIDspace telescope, the Solar Orbiter mission and the JUICE mission to Jupiter’s icy moons.

The Czech Aerospace Research Center is currently preparing two Czech space missions, AMBIC and QUVIK, in which a number of Czech companies will participate. The AMBIC (Ambitious Czech Satellite) mission will provide satellite imagery for government purposes. However, most of the data will also be available to the private sector. QUICK (Quick Ultra-Violet Kilonovae Surveyor) is an ultraviolet space telescope that will focus on monitoring short-term high-energy phenomena in space, such as collisions of neutron stars or black holes.

The European Space Agency was founded in 1975 and has since grown to 22 member states. It is dedicated to developing cutting-edge space technologies, generally applicable on Earth, transferring scientific knowledge into practice, and applying the data and services of satellite systems to everyday life. Its activities are based on industrial and scientific cooperation between Member States. The ESA’s annual budget is almost 6.5 billion euros, made up of contributions from the Member States and the European Union.

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