Czech Republic and the space dream, financial barriers prevent sending astronaut Ales Svoboda with Axiom Space

8. 12. 2023 | Natalie Bezděková

The Czech Republic seems to be out of reach of the chance to send its astronaut Ales Svoboda into space with the American company Axiom Space. This great opportunity for a space mission, however, has stalled on the issue of finances, as the cost of this short-term space expedition is an astonishing $60 million, which amounts to approximately CZK 1.35 billion. This information was publicly accessed on Wednesday by Vaclav Kobera, head of the Department of Space Activities and Research at the Czech Transport Ministry.

Axiom Space has approached several European countries, including those with astronauts on the European Space Agency (ESA) reserve team, which includes the Czech Republic. The deadline for responding to this unique offer was set for the end of last year. However, as Kobera said, we do not currently have sufficient funding to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

The head of the Space Activities Department stressed that this financial barrier is a consequence of the difficult economic situation the Czech Republic is currently facing. This creates a challenge for a country that could be very interested in sending its astronauts into space.

The Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic informed about this unique offer in June last year. Ales Svoboda, a Czech fighter pilot who was selected for the ESA reserve astronaut team, declined to comment on the current decision. He said it was a political decision and he could not comment on the priorities of different ministries or levels of government.

However, Kobera suggested that the possibility of sending a Czech astronaut into space is not lost forever. Funding for such space missions could be resolved through cooperation with the private sector. Companies, for example from the arms or aerospace industry, could contribute to the mission in exchange for the opportunity to conduct experiments or research on the International Space Station (ISS).

Ales Svoboda, a traditional military pilot of the Czech Republic, was selected for ESA’s reserve astronaut team in November 2022. If approved, his participation in the mission with Axiom Space would make him the second Czech in space. The first was military pilot Vladimír Remek, who 45 years ago, together with Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Gubarov, formed the crew of the Soyuz 28 spacecraft.Axiom Space, a private company specialising in commercial spaceflight, has offered the Czech Republic this unique opportunity. The company was founded in 2016 with the goal of owning and operating the world’s first commercial space station. Axiom has already sent two commercial missions into space – the first Ax-1 in April 2022, with an American, a Canadian and an Israeli paying their way to the ISS, and the second late last year involving a pair of Saudis and two Americans.

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Author of this article

Natalie Bezděková

I am a student of Master's degree in Political Science. I am interested in marketing, especially copywriting and social media. I also focus on political and social events at home and abroad and technological innovations. My free time is filled with sports, reading and a passion for travel.


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