Martin Kupka at the Czech Space Week festival, which runs until 2 December. Photo credit: Czech Space Week.

Prague, Nov 29 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will raise its contribution to investments in the programs of the European Space Agency (ESA) to 62 million euros a year (around CZK 1.6 billion), Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) announced yesterday at a press conference to mark the opening of the five-day Czech Space Week festival.

The annual contribution will rise by some CZK 62 million to strengthen the position of Czech firms in the sector and thereby also space activities in the country, Kupka added.

“The Czech Republic is aware of the strategic importance of space activities for our economy, technological progress and security of Europe. This is also why our active role is so significant. At the same time, it offers a great opportunity to our firms to work on top technological projects that exceed the possibilities of the Czech Republic with their comprehensive and demanding character and total costs,” Kupka said.

The increase in Czech funding of ESA programs will also strengthen space activities in the country, since the ESA will subsequently divide the invested money according to the contributions of particular states. The money will thus go directly to Czech firms in the field, Kupka added.

Moreover, investments in space activities have a high level of return, he said. “Based on a relatively conservative estimate, the revenues from a single crown spent on space activities in the Czech Republic amount to seven to eight crowns. This would eventually lead to billions more crowns to the state budget,” Kupka noted.

He added that more than 50 companies in the Czech Republic participate in space programs every year, and this number is gradually rising. Recently, Czechs helped assemble carrier rockets to satellites, and participated in telecommunication systems and other projects.

The program of the Czech Space Week festival, which runs until 2 December, includes the Space2Business event held in the Prague Congress Centre within the Czech EU presidency, dealing with cooperation between Europe and African and Middle-East countries. It will also present the space projects in which Czech firms and organisations are assisting.

The aim of the festival is to popularise science and inform the public about the benefits of the involvement of scientific organisations and companies in space projects.

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