Prague Sets Its Eyes on the Deep of Space
Only few people know that the eyes of space experts are also often set on Prague. And what are the reasons behind it? The city of a hundred spires, whose fame will touch the stars, as princess Libuše predicted the future of Prague according to a legend, has a few reasons. In addition to this, many globally important congresses and conferences related to this topic were held in this city. So how is it with the stars in Prague?
Prague has the honour to be home to several major institutions dealing with space research or space technologies. In 2021, for example, the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) was established here, replacing the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), which had been based in Prague nine years earlier. Among other things, this agency also includes the Galileo navigation system (similar to the American GPS system), which currently has four billion users worldwide and its operations use 28 satellites.
The Business Incubator of the European Space Agency ESA BIC Czech Republic, based in Prague, sees to it that space technologies find their use on Earth or, on the contrary, that new technologies get into space as soon as possible. It provides mainly consultancy and technical and administrative support to start-ups operating in this sector. You can also have your developing space technologies tested in Prague at the new C3T – Czech Centre for Competitive Technologies of the Aerospace Research and Test Institute (VZLU).
The fact that this topic resonates in Prague is also evidenced by the large number of international professional meetings and conferences dedicated to space research and new technologies. Did you know, for example, that Pluto lost its status of a planet in the Czech capital? This was decided by the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) at the so-called Astronomical Congress, which took place in August 2006 at the Prague Congress Centre. Even today, however, there are many events held with focus on the space industry, many of which are also open to the public. For example, Czech Space Week takes place regularly. The conferences and congresses organized for the professional public can be found in our events calendar.
Which interesting projects await Prague next? The Czech Republic could soon become one of the countries exploring the solar system thanks to its own probe. The Lunar VIcinity Complex Environmental Explorer (aka LVICE²) project, which is being developed by a consortium of Czech companies led by Prague-based ESC Aerospace, has successfully passed its first phase testing the feasibility of the entire mission by the European Space Agency (ESA). Another probe, JUICE, has already successfully embarked on its journey to Jupiter. Czech scientists from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Czech Academy of Science and the Astronomical Institute of the CAS also significantly participated in the project of probe, which should be near Jupiter in eight years. And other interesting research is certainly waiting for us, also in connection with the recently signed international Artemis Accord. The Czech Republic signed it as the 24th country in the world and thanks to it, Czechs will be able to cooperate not only in the exploration of the Moon, but also of Mars and other space bodies.
General public can also look forward to the reopening of the reconstructed Prague Planetarium. The planned reconstruction will run from the end of April 2023 until spring 2024 and thanks to it the Planetarium will become the most modern facility in the world equipped with LED dome technology with 45 million diodes. The planetarium will also be available for event organizers to book for their meetings. The main digital planetarium currently offers a capacity for up to 230 persons, the cinema for more than 90. The foyer and outdoor terrace add another 400 seats to the capacity.