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First year in ESA

After accession of Czech Republic to ESA there has been increase in participation on space projects

Prague, 23 August 2010 - The data of Czech Space Office (CSO) show that in early 2010 there were 14 contracts signed between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Czech workplaces because of incentive program for Czech industry. The research leader for five of them, which were recommended, is the Czech Technical University or Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and for the eleven ones are the private companies.

In 2010, selected companies, research institutions and universities in the Czech Republic, which signed a contract with ESA, began to work on research and development projects in the field of ground segment, Earth observation, navigation and especially technological solutions with greater use. In 2009 Czech Republic contributed to ESA programs in total with the amount of € 6.8 million from the budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which is responsible for science and research and covers all activities related to the entry and membership of Czech Republic in ESA. However, the countries of comparable population - Portugal and Belgium - spend more than twice, or twenty-three times more respectively.

"These programs offer the Czech companies and institutions unique opportunity to participate in the development of cutting-edge technologies and be in touch with research and scientific institutions throughout Europe. CSO can provide with extensive knowledge and experience support with the participation in these programs for the Czech people who are interested," says Jan Kolar, director of the CSO.

Incentive program for Czech industry

The main aim and purpose of the incentive program is to help Czech workplaces to operate in a sufficiently competitive level in order to become equal partners of peer organizations and institutions abroad and to successfully involve in mandatory or optional programs. In the first call for proposals, in spring of 2009, a total of 14 projects were launched. The firms and workplaces which finally signed a contract with ESA include: AVX Czech Republic, Iguassu Software Systems, Evolving Systems Consulting, CSRC, Gisat, ANF DATA, BBT-Materials Processing, ProjectSoft HK, LK Engineering, Aerospace Frentech, Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR, Institute of Experimental and Applied physics CTU and the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Republic. Next call in the incentive program is planned for autumn 2010.

Examples of Czech companies and institutions participating in ESA programs

Earth Observation Envelope Program (EOEP)

This is the basic program for ESA Earth observation. It includes the development, construction, launch and operation of satellites named Earth Explorer and their instrumentation for research on the Earth and its environment. The most significant Czech participation in EOEP is the development of three micro-accelerometers carried on board SWARM satellites. On this project works the consortium of 13 companies led by Czech Aeronautical Research and Test Institute.

The European program for the LIfe sciences and Physical Sciences (ELIPS)

The greatest involvement in the program ELIPS is development and production of the module to synchronize atomic clocks in space and on Earth using lasers. This module will be a part of the ACES atomic clock project, which will be placed on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2013. Czech consortium consists of company CSRC and FJFI Department of Experimental Electrical Engineering at Czech Technical University. Other Czech projects, this time in the field of biomedicine and human physiology, will start in 2011. As part of the annual ELIPS program there is also the one-year stay of Czech doctor - researcher at Concordia polar station in Antarctica. The current program will have been running by 2012.

The development of the telecommunication system Iris (ARTES 10)

In the program Iris participate six Czech companies that work not only on the development of a communication terminal on board the aircraft, but also on the necessary software. The main members of the project consortium are Honeywell CZ, Iguassu Software Systems and Evolving Systems Consulting.

The development of instruments for scientific experiments program (PRODEX)

Currently, in program PRODEX there is approved funding for seven projects most of which is focused on the development of flight hardware for scientific instruments for exploring Sun at Solar Orbiter spacecraft and Proba-3.