The Czech Republic could send its first astronaut into space next year

The country has received an offer to join the next Axiom mission, and Aleš Svoboda could become the second astronaut from the Czech lands to go to space. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.06.2023 16:13:00 (updated on 19.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic is on the brink of sending its first astronaut into space in the country's 30-year history, reports Czech Television. The country has received an offer from Axiom, a private spaceflight company, to send an astronaut to the International Space Station.

The mission could take place as early as next year, pending the acquisition of sufficient funding. Czech politicians are weighing the potential benefits and financing options as citizens anticipate the realization of this historic opportunity.

Should the necessary funds be secured, the Czech astronaut would embark on the journey aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, developed by SpaceX, as part of Axiom's private space program.

This significant mission is estimated to cost around CZK 1 billion. In addition to being the first astronaut from the Czech Republic, it would mark just the second occasion that a citizen of the Czech lands ventures into space, following the pioneering flight of Vladimír Remek in 1978 when the country was part of Czechoslovakia.

"If we manage to secure some financial resources from private sources, I believe that our ministry would definitely participate," Minister of Defense Jana Černochová stated, expressing optimism about the mission. Transport Minister Martin Kupka shared a similar sentiment.

In 1978, Remek flew aboard the Soviet Soyuz 28 spacecraft as part of the Interkosmos program. His mission was a milestone, making him the first non-Soviet, non-American person to go into space. His flight symbolized a breakthrough in space exploration, demonstrating international collaboration and highlighting the capabilities of Czechoslovakia's space program.

Now, over four decades later, the Czech Republic stands on the verge of reclaiming its presence in space. The candidate poised to assume this historic role is Aleš Svoboda, a 36-year-old captain and fighter pilot in the Czech Army.

The potential benefits of the mission extend beyond the realm of space exploration. The mission aims to foster the long-term development of Czech companies by providing an opportunity to test Czech technologies and instruments.

"Every crown invested in the space industry returns to the economy seven to ten times," says Jan Spratek, an expert from Prague Planetarium and Observatory. The incorporation of Czech expertise into space experiments contributes to the country's scientific and economic progress.

Axiom, the private spaceflight company offering the opportunity to the Czech Republic, specializes in commercial space travel. Founded in 2016, the company aims to establish and operate the world's first commercial space station, and has already launched two successful flights into space.

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