Together with CzechInvest and other partners, the Ministry of Transport is holding the fourth edition of the Czech Space Week. Intended for both amateur enthusiasts and experts, as well as students and teachers and all other space fans, this festival of space activities will take place in Prague and Brno and virtually from 5 to 14 November 2021. It will offer a series of lectures, panel discussions and live broadcasts. Some events will be held exclusively online, while others will take place in person. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate space successes in Europe and the Czech Republic and to familiarise festivalgoers with new developments in the space industry and science. All events intended for the public are free of charge.
“I hope that after last year’s online edition of the festival, we will be able to again meet key stakeholders and partners in person and thus increase the added value of Czech Space Week, which is networking. There are many successful technology-oriented companies in the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries that are unaware each other. We want to change that, introduce them to each other and outline the potential and possibilities of cooperation between them,” say Tereza Kubicová of CzechInvest and head of ESA BIC Czech Republic.
The breadth of the space industry is greater than it seems and is inspiring previously non-space companies to do business in the field
Companies will have the opportunity to network at the festival’s main event, the Central European Space Industry Day, which will offer a venue for establishing new business partnerships not only between companies in the Czech Republic, but also between neighbouring countries, which is a new feature of Czech Space Week. In the following days, companies will receive the latest overview of the financial tools that they can use to fund innovations in their space-related business activities, as well as an opportunity to learn about the most recent developments in the EU space programme and its services.
The festival will also include the ESA Space Solution conference, where the results of the first five-year programme of the ESA BIC Prague space incubator will be presented. During its time in operation, ESA BIC Prague has helped thirty-four startups to launch their businesses involving space technologies and systems. Another feature of the conference will be the launch of the new ESA BIC Czech Republic programme, which will provide facilities and support to a total of forty innovative startups over the next five years.
Even though the Czech Republic is a small country, the successes that it has achieved in the space industry and science rank it among the best in the world in this area. Within the new programme, the county, which was previously referred to as the “assembly plant of Europe”, is engaged in ambitious projects and is moving toward production of complex systems and entire space missions. The SLAVIA project, in which exclusively domestic companies and research institutions are involved, has the potential to become the first purely Czech mission to be prepared within the ESA programme. Its objective is to validate technologies for mapping mineral resources in the vicinity of our planet and to thus contribute to the exploration of the solar system. In addition to that, the Czech Republic is involved in a number of international projects and space experiments, such as the Hera planetary defence mission. Scientists from the Czech Academy of Sciences are also collaborating on significant projects. During Czech Space Week, they will present the Lisa mission, within which they will take part in the development of a space laboratory for measuring gravitational waves in space.
However, there are actually many more companies that could start doing business in the space industry, a number of which are unaware of the opportunities and business potential that the industry holds. In an effort to familiarise them with the idea of doing business in space, the new ESA Business Applications Ambassador platform is being established in the Czech Republic and will be presented at the conference by the organisers, who are also preparing another separate programme for non-space companies.
“The increasing number of space projects in the Czech Republic and the number of companies involved in them is proof that the space industry is on the rise here and that it is worth investing further in this area. Space and related technologies and applications are an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether that involves geolocation information on our telephones, the navigation systems in our cars or the exact time we get from the European Galileo navigation system, we are surrounded by space technologies and applications at every turn. The potential for further development is tremendous for both our economy and society,” says Václav Kobera, chairman of the administrative board of the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and head of the Department of Intelligent Transport Systems, Space Activities and Research, Development and Innovation at the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic.
Czech Space Week debunks myths about the space industry
Education about the importance of the space industry is one of the goals of the festival. Therefore, the organisers are preparing an interesting programme for the general public that will present everything that is part of the space industry and how the Czech Republic compares to the rest of the world in relation to the industry. The Space for Women programme has the purpose of showing that the topic of space is no longer a male-only discipline and attracting more women to work in this sector. As the range of uses of space technologies increases, so does the demand for female graduates who have studied disciplines other than rocket engineering. Even an attorney or psychologist can find employment in the sector. Visitors will be inspired by women from the Czech Republic and beyond who have succeeded in this field. Kateřina Falk, Nathalie Claudel, Franciska Matos and Anita Sengupta will share their stories and experience in a panel discussion. Of no less importance, the organisers want to spur interest in space among children and are thus preparing an extensive programme for them in cooperation with their partners.
About the Ministry of Transport
The Ministry of Transport is responsible for coordinating the Czech Republic’s space activities, ensuring the Czech Republic’s membership in ESA and most EU programmes and for cooperation with the EU Agency for the Space Programme. Space activities are implemented on the basis of the government-approved National Space Plan 2020-2025, which has the aim of ensuring the competitiveness of Czech industry and the academic sphere and maximising the return on public investments in space activities and related areas. The National Space Plan 2020-2025 also ensures investments in the Czech Republic’s space activities, which are implemented through ESA in the annual volume of CZK 1.53 billion. More information is available at www.czechspaceportal.cz.
CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of comprehensive support for business and investments. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of its services and its ability to connect global trends with the regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s primary objectives is the transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The agency was established in 1992.