National Points of Contact
Did you know that Czechoslovak cosmonaut Vladimir Remek was the first person in space that was not from the USA or Soviet Union? Slovakia has its heritage and experience in space activities from the time when Czechoslovakia participated in Interkozmos program and although today is not yet a member state of the European Space Agency, things are starting to look better. Slovak universities and academic institutions have long-term experience with participation on space activities, in recent period, fresh wave of enthusiasm emerged in NGO sector. In February 2015, Slovakia has signed European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement with the European Space Agency and aims to become full member of ESA after year 2020.
Young Space Activities Overview in Slovakia
Opportunities for young people in Slovakia with interest to pursue career in space sector include mainly choosing space-related studies at universities and engagement in non-governmental sector. Various Slovak Universities or Slovak Academy of Sciences have their departments, offices and institutions dedicated to space-related research or engineering. These include Slovak Technical University and Comenius University in Bratislava, Technical University in Žilina, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Institute of Experimental Physics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences or Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Scientists from above-mentioned academic institutions have been participating at international space projects for decades (e.g. Rosetta mission) and continues to do so in the present as well. As a result of accession process of Slovakia to the ESA, various new interesting projects has been created at Slovak academic institutions which opens up new opportunities also for students interested in space-related studies. Besides universities, number of astronomical observatories and clubs in Slovak towns are also active.
Since 2009, non-governmental organization Slovak Organisation for Space Activities (SOSA) has been engaged in various types of space activities or space-related activities, including launching of stratospheric balloons, development of the first Slovak suborbital rocket ARDEA or development of spaceflight simulator. Slovak Organisation for Space activities, together with Žilina University in Žilina, Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, Technical University Košice and handful of private companies have developed first Slovak satellite skCUBE, which was launched into space in June 2017. In the field of space policy, non-governmental organization Slovak Space Policy Association (SSPA) was established in 2015 with aim to take active part in promoting and tackling issues of space policy, law and governance, which are related and relevant to development of Slovak space sector. Much of recent enthusiasm in Slovak space community has been result of activities of non-governmental organisations such as SOSA or SSPA, both of which offering number of opportunities for students and young professionals. SOSA is active in organising tens of space-related presentations, workshops and educational activities each year for students, the general public and companies (scientific fairs, European researchers’ night, sci-fi festivals, etc). SSPA focuses on expert community as well as general public with its portfolio of activities and provides expert advise and stable channel for dissemination of information regarding issues related to space law, space policy, space governance and space security.
With regards to organizational issues, Slovakia does not yet have its own space office or agency, currently the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport is responsible for space agenda. The national Slovak regulatory authority in the sector of radio communication is the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Services. With regards to commercial space sector and space industry, these have not yet been properly developed in Slovakia. Recently signed ECS Agreement with the European Space Agency is also an opportunity for young people in Slovakia to engage in space, particularly through the Plan for European Cooperating States program (PECS), which is an opportunity to apply for funding for intended space projects. By end of 2017, first two PECS calls for proposals have been completed with third call for proposals underway. Since Slovakia is now officially an European Cooperating State to the ESA, Slovak students and fresh graduates have now also the possibility to apply for traineeships in the ESA through the Young Graduates Trainee schemes.
Country-Specific Events in 2019
Interesting Web Links
Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences
Department of Space Physics, Institute of Experimental Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences
Website dedicated to the first Slovak satellite skCUBE
Slovak Organisation for Space Activities
Slovak Space Party 2011
Slovak Space Policy Association
Slovak Space Portal
Space for Education, Education for Space Project
Online space encyclopedia
COSPAR National Committee in Slovakia