The festival will feature an international conference and startup competition, while bringing together the academic and industrial sectors
This year’s edition of Czech Space Week, a festival of space-related activities organised by the Ministry of Transport together with CzechInvest, Planetum – Prague Observatory and Planetarium, and other partners under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will reach beyond the borders of the Czech Republic and even farther. The festival began today, 28 November, at the Prague Congress Centre with the two-day Space2Business event and will run until Friday, 2 December. It will offer an extensive programme for companies, investors, startups, students, children and other space fans. The festival will celebrate the successes of Czech companies operating in the space industry and present the innovations that drive the space sector in the Czech Republic. It will also be focused on the impacts of the war in Ukraine within the Czech Copernicus User Forum. The seminar titled “Defending European Interests in Space” will focus on the increasingly interconnected issues of space and defence. Given the festival’s international reach, a seminar on strengthening cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region will also be held. The general partner of the event is the Brno-based company TRL Space Systems.
The Czech Republic has strong potential and talent in the area of space activities. In comparison with the other countries that have joined ESA in recent years, the Czech Republic is rated as the most successful and can compete well with a number of western countries. More than fifty Czech companies and dozens of Czech subcontractors are actively involved in approximately 500 projects under ESA’s direction. The Czech Republic has also played a role in the preparation of three launch vehicles and thirty of ESA’s scientific and purely commercial missions.
“The space industry in the Czech Republic is growing every year, we have dozens of companies involved in hundreds of space projects, a solid academic and research background and an active startup scene, where more than 40 startups are incubated through the ESA Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) in Prague and Brno. It is also good to stress that we are increasing our contribution to ESA and thus increasing the space for Czech companies to participate in European space projects and that 3 completely Czech satellites were launched this year,” says Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic, Mr Martin Kupka.
Shortly after the Czech Space Week festival, the aforementioned trio of satellites will be joined in December by the fourth Czech satellite to be launched this year: BDSAT2, which, like the other three, will be carried into space by a SpaceX Falcon rocket within the Smallsat Rideshare Programme. One-third of all Czech satellites in history will thus have been launched in a single year, which illustrates how dynamically the Czech space industry is continuing to grow.
The Brno-based company TRL Space Systems is also preparing to broaden the horizons of the Czech space industry soon, as it will launch its own satellite called TROLL, which is funded solely with private investments, into Earth orbit in mid-2024. With its 6U size, TROLL will also be the largest Czech commercial satellite launched since the founding of the Czech Republic. “Thanks to this investment, the company will join the handful of existing European systems integrators, i.e. companies that are able to build complete satellites. This involves a service with high value added, which represents a unique opportunity for the Czech Republic. Furthermore, we will test our own products on the satellite and offer them to our customers on all continents,” says Petr Kapoun, founder and CEO of TRL Space Systems. Petr Kapoun and his guests will discuss the purpose of the mission and the products that the company will test on the satellite and for the LUGO mission focused on lunar research during the Space Together and Building Lunar Economy panel discussions, which are part of Space2Business, the opening and main event of this year’s edition of the Czech Space Week festival.
Space2Business comprises a day for companies operating in the space industry together with an international conference, a B2B section, a trade fair and an extensive ancillary programme for visitors interested in innovative space technologies. The purpose of this event is to support business in the space industry and to establish new business partnerships. The event follows a series of successful Space Industry Days held at previous editions of the festival. This time, however, the event will focus particular attention on cooperation across the whole of Europe and with countries in Africa and the Middle East.
The Space2Business event also includes a Demo Day held by the ESA BIC business incubator, during which new incubated startups will be presented. The best Czech startup participating in the ESA BIC project will subsequently take part in a pitch competition, in which it will compete with startups from EU and EUSPA competitions. An expert jury will then determine the best European space startup, which will receive CZK 250,000 and support in the form of mentoring.
The aim of the Space Hub project, which is part of Technology Incubation, is to facilitate the start of companies’ business operations. Space Hub is scheduled to officially launch in January next year with the objective of, among other things, forging closer ties between the academic sector and Czech space companies. “A large part of the demand from the academic sector is directed abroad, even though there are already more than 100 space companies in the Czech Republic and some of them could be able to supply components for scientific missions. We would like to complete the missing tool that would systematically and mutually connect supply and demand, so that new interesting collaborations could be created. This is one of the thing we would like to help with this year's Czech Space Week,” says Tereza Kubicová, Deputy Director for Technology Development at CzechInvest and founder of the Czech Space Week festival.
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 (EUSPA). Space activities are implemented on the basis of the government-approved National Space Plan 2020-2025, which has the purpose of ensuring the competitiveness of Czech industry and the country’s academic sphere and maximising the return on public investment 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 via 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.
About TRL Space Systems
TRL Space Systems is a Czech company focusing on the construction of satellites and the development, production and subsequent commercialisation of its own products for international organisations, space agencies and private companies. The company collaborates other firms, suppliers, academics and scientists. Its vision is to plant the Czech flag on the Moon and to place its products and services on every continent. The first major project undertaken by TRL Space Systems is a satellite for a commercial customer and for the LUGO international space mission, for which it serves as the systems integrator, thus controlling the mission from A to Z. It is also developing hyperspectral imaging, LiDAR and a next-generation communication platform. In addition to those activities, the company focuses on digitalisation of agriculture using a stratospheric platform in combination with a unique AI solution. According to a recent investment valuation, the company is worth EUR 10 million.
Contact to CzechInvest:
+420 724 591 667
Contact to the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic:
+420 606 068 729
Contact to TRL Space Systems:
+420 773 068 497