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Czech Republic to launch own data satellites

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The Czech Republic may be able to send its own satellites into space within a few years, linked to NATO’s satellite center SATCEN CR operated by the military intelligence service (VZ), VZ spokeswoman Alzbeta Riethofova told CTK today.

The SATCEN CR center’s purpose is to analyze data gathered by satellites and various aircraft for the purposes of NATO as well as the Czech army and various institutions like firefighters, paramedics, foresters and farmers. The center started operations in January and the Defence Ministry invested hundreds of millions of crowns into its foundation.

The VZ started building the SATCEN CR center in 2018.

“Thanks to our long historical experience with imaging technologies, intelligence services, and our experts, it is now fully functional and fulfills its tasks,” VZ’s director Jan Beroun said.

The Czech satellite network counts on sending a larger number of bigger satellites into space, Riethofova said.

The SATCEN CR center also plans to implement the MODES artificial intelligence and machine learning system as well as the STRATOM stratospheric imaging system as part of a larger national satellite technology project.

The center’s director, Ladislav Stahl, noted that it is among the world’s top facilities in regard to the technologies and capabilities at its disposal.

“I was very surprised by the interest of young people to work in the satellite center, especially by the fact that their motivation comes from not only their professional concern but also from their concern for the security of our country,” Stahl said.

Setting up the country’s satellite technology is a process that is part of the overarching GOLEM (global orbital electro-optic system) project, expected to be realized as of 2024.

“The project could achieve complete data independence for the Czech Republic, which could prove useful for example during states of emergency,” Riethofova said.

“Thanks to this new capability, through which we contribute to collective defense, we increase the status of the Czech Republic within NATO and fulfill our commitments to the alliance,” Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) said.

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