Matej is currently working in the ISS Flight Operations, as a member of the Columbus Flight

Control team, responsible for the commanding and monitoring of the Columbus systems and payloads, as well as providing support to the astronaut crew and other flight control positions in regards to technical aspects of the module. This includes supporting payload operators from NASA and Europe performing science runs in the Columbus module, either purely from the ground, or with the involvement of the crew. 

In addition, Matej and the team prepare, plan and execute projects and specialist activities such as on-board hardware and software upgrades, or maintenance and module upgrades in collaboration with the astronauts.

Previously, Matej was active in the newspace ecosystem, working in a mobile robotics company Robotech s.r.o developing and field-testing solutions for a variety of autonomous applications, including space. He also collaborated with a cubesat integrator company Spacemanic, developing mission simulations and conducting mission analysis. He is a co-founder of a ground-segment oriented space start-up Groundcom, which was incubated by the European Space Agency. His professional experience in the space industry started with a young graduate traineeship at the European Space Agency, specialising in software engineering, and data and system modelling. He is active in the field of analog research, having completed two lunar analog missions in the LunAres habitat in Poland, as well as actively contributing to analog activities of the Austrian Space Forum.

His wide variety of contributions was recognised by Forbes Slovakia by a 30 under 30 award in the Science & Education.

History with SGAC

I joined SGAC in 2017, and until recently I was serving my second term as the National Point of Contact for Slovakia. A highlight of my time as an NPoC was building on collaboration of SGAC with Blue Origin’s foundation Club for the Future – I organised and coordinated the involvement of Slovak general public in the Club for the Future’s “Postcards to Space” initiative under the SGAC banner. This initiative has attracted the participation of approx. 2000 people, whose postcards will soon fly to space and back on Blue Origin’s New Shepard. I formalised the entire process in a document to allow other NPoCs to either replicate the project in their countries, or to learn from the experience we had along the way. The documentation also provides a platform for other NPoCs to record their procedures or lessons learned, to gradually build up the experience with the “Postcards to Space” project and thus make the execution easier for every future team wishing to run this project in their country.

As a result of this initiative, we have expanded the membership of SGAC in Slovakia, by making sure SGAC is visible every step along the way. We also formed a strong working relationship between SGAC and the Slovak Space Office, which was made official in March 2023 when the first MoU between SGAC and a Slovak entity was signed. In addition, to build on the visibility and new membership generated by the “Postcards to Space” project, I proposed and co-organised an “Intro to SGAC” event in Slovakia, to expand the collaboration with the Space Office, and also to bring the newly-formed Slovak SGAC community together and get them more involved in SGAC. During this event we highlighted the main pillars of SGAC, and also gave the project groups an opportunity to present their activities to encourage new members to find ways to actively participate from the start.

I was the driving force behind the publication of “All for one and one for all: Recommendations for Sustainable International Lunar Base Utilisation and Exploration Approaches”, which summarised the outcomes of the NASA Advanced Exploration Systems working group at Space Generation Congress 2019 in Washington, D.C., which I attended thanks to the SGAC/OHB SE Scholarship. This publication was a continuation of my role as a rapporteur for the working group. I served as a NASA Exploration working group moderator for SpaceGen United (2020). This year, I am a part of the SGC2023 Organising Team, specifically as a working group support within the Programming sub-team.

I also contributed to SGAC’s winning entry “Domi Inter Astra” to Moon Society’s Moon Base Design Contest, with system analysis of uncrewed and crewed rovers, robotic operations and extravehicular activities. I was the team lead of 2018 SGAC Find an Asteroid campaign team “Ryan’s Belt” credited with 7 preliminary asteroid discoveries. I was selected for the Member of the Month award in February 2022.

While receiving this award, Matej, said:

I am honoured to be joining the ranks of SGAC pioneers. SGAC projects and activities were a significant item of my extraprofessional curriculum for the past several years. It is encouraging to have one’s work recognised, mainly as a reassurance of the validity and the impact of the effort. My gratitude goes first and foremost to all my colleagues that have collaborated with me on all of the projects we took on or came up with, and also to the selection committee for their consideration.