Prague is the very dynamic capital city of Czech Republic which offers some possibilities for having space fun. Czech Republic joined the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2008 and renewed the country’s motion in space. The Czech Republic’s involvement in space started in 1969 when payloads developed in the former Czechoslovakia flew on the Intercosmos-1 satellite. One of the most significant achievements was when Vladimír Remek spent 6 days on the Salyut-6 orbital station in 1978, making Czechoslovakia the third country whose citizens entered space. Currently the Czech Space Office coordinates many different sectors of research, development and applications.
For the general public
The public is invited to visit the Štefánik Observatory. It is located in the heart of Prague in Petřín’s parks at the Hunger Wall. The very friendly staff are mostly volunteers and will be pleased to welcome you in Czech and in English. If you arrive at night (21:00-23:00) you will have the pleasure to perform some celestial observations, during the day however, the observatory focuses on observations of the sun and sun spots.
Additionally, the National Technical Museum of Prague has a gallery dedicated to astronomy. The public will find many old and new instruments for celestial observations among other fun space items. The main gallery also has a floor dedicated to aerospace. Currently there is a specific exhibition showcasing the Czechoslovak satellites Magion (70’s-90’s) and the astronaut Vladimír Remek.
For the space enthusiast
In 2013, the Czech Space Office, itself located in Prague, published the Czech Space Catalogue. Not less than 42 entities (universities, institutions and companies) are located in Prague. Many departments of the Technical University of Prague and research institutions are working on space related projects in close relation with local companies.
Particularly, the Institute of psychology academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and QED group are both studying human Behavior in Space. They have contributed to the project Mars500 by socio-mapping for monitoring communication within work teams, including those exposed to extreme conditions. The Mars-500 mission was a 6 man psychosocial isolation experiment conducted between 2007 and 2011 by Russia, the ESA and China, in preparation for an unspecified future manned spaceflight to the planet Mars.
The dynamic of a small group in a confined and extreme environment must be studied very carefully for a long term mission. Monitoring the crew psychological health and difficulties are essential for the success of any space mission. Crew mates must be able to perform social interactions and handle different issues. The behavior of the entire crew can drastically affect the success of a mission.
Prague will provide you with a greater understanding of the significance of space in the Czech Republic. This city has definitely a role to play in human space exploration. It may not have been somewhere you thought space activities prevailed, but you should not forget that we are all…
Born For Space!