What exactly does it mean that Aleš Svoboda is in the reserve team of astronauts, and how likely is it that he will go into space?
Everyone imagines something slightly different under the term backup, because very often people then say that it probably means that they won’t fly up. It should be noted that the five professionals with whom the contract will be drawn up with the European Space Agency are not certain that they will ever fly up.
Listen to an interview with Jan Spratek, an expert at the Observatory and Planetarium of the Capital City of Prague
The job of an astronaut is not only about flying into space, to orbit, or to other bodies, but it is also about a lot of work in operations centers training and helping other scientists who work on these components and devices.
The probability that our astronaut Aleš Svoboda would fly in the nearest units of years is relatively small, but hope dies last. We can talk about the fact that, for example, in ten years he will be called for full-fledged training and will prepare for the entire mission.”
At the moment, this means that Aleš Svoboda will train fully at the astronaut training center in Cologne for at least one week a year. There he will improve himself in all the needs of that activity. He will still be employed where he is now. That’s the main difference there. The five selected will be immediately employed by the European Space Agency, but so will the 12 reservists. They will still be employed by their employers.
He impressed with his qualifications and character
How did Aleš Svoboda convince the jury?
Definitely with your resume. I can imagine that with his last name Svoboda he was able to impress, possibly with a motivational letter, but in any case definitely with a biography. He is an air force captain and flies a Gripen. He is a person who has a Ph.D.
After decades, the Czechia has an astronaut. Pilot Svoboda is in the reserve team of the European Space Agency
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If you listen to an interview with him, which I would very much like to invite listeners to as part of Wednesday’s Events or Saturday’s Hyde Park Civilizace with Daniel Stach on Czech TV, he is really a very nice, warm, ideal candidate.
We mentioned that there were more than 22,000 applicants for the position of astronaut. Can you describe how long the selection process is and what all the candidates go through during it?
The selection process was more than a year old. It even got longer than originally planned, due to the great interest and number of applications. For comparison, in 2009 there were around 8,500 applications. Interest has almost tripled. There were six phases, where from 22,000 applications it was narrowed down to 1,400. The selection was based on CVs and motivational letters.
Then we moved on to tests that were primarily linked to health parameters, such as hearing or excellent eyesight. Already in the application, they had to prove their abilities or medical fitness at the level of ordinary transport pilots.
Other exams were more advanced. Then there were tests of mental endurance – how they can cooperate in a team. There’s a lot they had to go through. Aleš Svoboda managed to say in one interview for Czech Television that during medical tests, where bone thinning and the cardiovascular system and its functionality were addressed, for example, they inserted probes everywhere you have an opening.
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