|"Per aspera ad astra" - "Přes překážky ke hvězdám"|
|Success in space|
Success in spacezdroj: RESEARCH | Space Programme
The Czech Republic has a keen interest in space research and exploration, which will continue to develop under the country’s presidency, says former Cosmonaut Vladimír Remek
Thirty years have passed since my space flight. I was really pleased that the European parliament chose to celebrate thE anniversary of this event, when together with Alexej Gubarev, I conducted a series of tasks in orbit for more than 190 hours. Commissioner Verheugen branded my mission as the first European space flight, that is to say the first flight by a European citizen, following on from the former Soviet Union and the USA. Thirty years on, Europe has 15 December 2008 PARLIAMENTMAGAZINE 45 Vladimír Remek is a member of parliament’sindustry, research and energy committee an ambitious space programme and it was therefore a great satisfaction for me that this year the Czech Republic became a fully-fledged member of the European Space Agency (ESA).
Europe keeps strengthening its position when it comes to different aspects of the space programme and strives to keep the same pace as the USA and Russia, and also with China and India not too far behind. It is useful to remind ourselves of Europe’s involvement in building-up the International Space Station (ISS), to which a module of the space lab Columbus was already connected. We have also witnessed the first flight of the fully automatic spacecraft to the ISS, again a European project. The ESA has proved, through the cooperation of member states, that Europe has an interest in further space activities within the space programme. This objective was stated during a recent hearing in the European parliament, and we as MEPs have supported this objective. I’m absolutely positive that Europe should be capable of having its own space shuttle for manned space missions. I hope we can look forward to sufficient funding and positive political will from national governments towards fulfilling this aim.
This year proved that the EU is capable of addressing the challenges and overcoming the obstacles that exist when it comes to making significant progress in space. MEPs were finally convinced to give Galileo the go-ahead and support the public funding of the deployment phase of this project. The decision from the private sector not to be involved in the ambitious plan of building-up a European satelite navigation system was not the end, and the project goes on. The first two experimental satellites of the system, GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B, have already been in orbit and function correctly. Regarding the accession of the Czech Republic to the ESA, it is important to remember that Czech activities concerning Galileo prove that such international actions can be a major opportunity even for the so-called “small” member states. For example, signals from both the above-mentioned satellites are being received by a workstation at the Czech Technical University in Prague. This shows that Czech businesses, research centres and universities are keen to get involved in the Galileo project and are taking active steps in this direction.
“I’m absolutely positive that Europe should be capable of having its own space shuttle for manned space missions”
Many of subcontractors are already successfully engaged in the European “space business”, and this is an area of interest that will definitely continue throughout the Czech presidency. For example, Prague will for the first time host the International Congress of the Association of the Space Explorers (ASE), an event which will bring together cosmonauts and astronauts from all over the world. I am sure that the event will only confirm the prestige and position of the Czech Republic in this sector. In light of these achievements, we are still campaigning for Prague to become the location of the Galileo Supervisory Agency (GSA). In my opinion, this is only a logical continuation of the fine traditions we have in the Czech Republic when it comes to space research and exploitation.