SGAC Bulgaria

National Points of Contact
Rada Popova

Raycho Raychev

Rada Popova
Feb 2011-Feb 2015
Raycho Raychev
Dec 2010-Dec 2014
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Bulgaria is not a member state of ESA (European Space Agency), we have founded the biggest space educational program in the Balkan region – Space Challenges Program. The program has achieved amazing results by reaching more than 3000 young people in the last 3 years. It has fostered the creation of new aerospace projects and opened a direct channel of communication between the leading space experts and the young Bulgarians. As a founder of Space Challenges and proud member of SGAC, I encourage you to join our efforts and to help us build the next generation of space and high-tech educational program...

Young Space Activities Overview in Bulgaria

Bulgaria initiated its space program officially in 1969, when the "Central Laboratory for Space Research" at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences was created. Subsequently, the country's space program has had many achievements. The Bulgarian space program has been involved in numerous international projects such as Intercosmos, Space station Mir, and the International Space Station. Bulgaria has had TWO cosmonauts who flew in space. Furthermore, the country's science community has created the first successful automated space greenhouses and space food for cosmonauts.

In the last 20 years, the Bulgarian space program has serious financial issues and faces lack of strong domestic interest to proceed with its development as a space nation. As a result, many young professionals have left the country and are currently working in leading space organizations abroad.

ESA and Bulgaria: In June 2011 ESA's Council decided to grant Bulgaria with an observer status.
In 2012, Raycho Raychev, SGAC representative of Bulgaria, hosted six episodes of the "Known Universe" at National Geographic Channel, in a successful effort to popularize the importance of space science and technology in Bulgaria.

Country-Specific Events in 2013

  • Space Challenges 2013 Program: (01 Sept – 15. Dec): This is the biggest educational program in the field of space science and high-technologies in Bulgaria. The main aim is to foster entrepreneurship in the high-tech field. The program facilitates the development of new start-up technological projects that bring innovation to the industries of the region. The program selects the brightest young engineers, scientists and technologists and creates a network between them and high-tech and space sectors. The goal is to develop creative solutions that solve specific grand challenges.
  • NASA Space Challenge App: (20/21 Apr): The biggest international space application competition of NASA. Bulgaria will host a big event in Sofia on 20th and 21st of April.
  • Singularity University Global Competition – CEE: Prize: 50 000 USD – One of the leading technological programs at Silicon Valley organizes a local competition to find the most capable and entrepreneur-oriented in the Balkan region. Last year a Bulgarian student won a full scholarship for the program. The Bulgarian SGAC representative Raycho Raychev is also acting as ambassador for Singularity University in Bulgaria.

Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in Bulgaria

Space Challenges
NASA Space Challenge App
SU Global Impact Competition 2013
Institute for Space Research and Technologies
Sofia University Aerospace Engineering

Photo of Space Challenges students at the
National Space Observatory "Rozhen", 2012

Picture taken by one to the stratospheric apparatuses
sent by the participants of Space Challenges program.
On the photo: Bulgaria from 32 km altitude.


Open conversation of Noel Parmentier, Chief Strategic Officer
of Rhea Systems and special guest of
Space Challenges Program with Bulgarian students





























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