Astronomický ústav AV ČR   Ondřejov

Fričova 298
251 65 Ondřejov
Czech Republic

Tel. +420 323649201
Fax: +420 323620 110, 117

Academy of Sciences
of the Czech Republic


ESA Missions

Astronomical Institute participate on missions of European Space Agency (ESA). Cooperation started in PECS program and has continued since Czech Republic becomes a full member of ESA on November 12, 2008. Czech representatives in ESA nominated by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are our employs František Fárník (Scientific Programme Committee, Prodex) and Petr Heinzel (Task Force, Prodex).

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Start 1995. SOHO continuously watch the solar photosphere, corona and solar wind. SOHO is equipped with 12 instruments. SOHO is the most successful solar satellite of all times. It discovered also over 1500 comets.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Utilization of the extensive archive of SOHO data and analysis of spectra and spectral images of selected events
  • Proposing, organization and making new observations, especially with CDS and SUMER instruments
  • Continuation in the development of modern analytical methods based on theoretical approach to plasma spectroscopy in non-equilibrium stages and solar MHD
  • Utilization of the results received for the preparation of the next solar project of ESA - Solar Orbiter

Start 1999. The satellite observe the universe in x-rays, which cannot be seen from the Earth. This x-rays come from accretion of the matter around black holes, supernovae, dark matter, gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • We propose to analyze and interpret X-ray spectra of accreting black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGN) and Galactic black holes, including the publicly available observations and those in which we are currently involved in collaboration
  • Our main objective is to develop and enhance computational tools that will be primarily dedicated to the analysis and interpretation, relying on unprecedented combination of collecting area and the energy resolution of the ESA cornerstone XMM-Newton mission

Start 2002. The satellite observe high energy sources like black holes, gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei. Integral is equipped with two x-ray telescopes, optical and gamma detector.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Czech participation in the project is represented by a coordination of activities in the Czech Republic, scientific data analysis and by organization of a Data Center in Astronomical Institute in Ondrejov. A few team members are (were) directly participating in the main Data Center (ISDC) in Switzerland. 

Start 2009. GOCE orbiting the Earth systematically and measure the gravitational potential. This provides to study the Earth interior and construct new model of the shape of the Earth.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Orbit choice and tuning for GOCE measuring phases
  • Novel geodetic computational methodologies
  • Comparison of detailed satellite and terrestrial data
  • Detection of hidden impact (meteoritic) structures on the Earth surface


Start 2009. The PROBA satellites are among
the smallest ever to be flown by ESA, but they are making a big impact in space technology. PROBA-2 has two instruments to observe the sun and three to measure plasma.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Dual Segmented Langmuir Probes (DSLP), which will measure electron density and temperature in the background plasma of the Earth’s magnetosphere
  • The main goal of the DSLP instrument is to test the new type of the basic plasma parameters measurements as well as functioning of the instrument in the space environment
  • Thermal Plasma Measurement Unit - TPMU is developed by Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR.

Start 2012. The main purpose of the satellite is to measure stars. Gaia will measure positions, proper motions, brightness and spectrum of the stars with unprecedented accuracy. Unique catalogue consists of 1 billion stars and 3D model of the solar neighborhood is expected.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Ground-based observation in Gaia pre and post-launch time
  • Reduction of reference star spectra
  • Gaia CU7 sub-workpackage on Eruptive stars with emphasis on Be stars
  • Gaia Software development
  • Gaia CU7 sub-workpackage on Cataclysmic Variables
  • Gaia CU7 sub-workpackage on Optical Counterparts of High-Energy Sources
  • Special Variability Detection and Variability Characterization
  • Simultaneous observations by robotic telescopes


Start 2012. Proba-3 will demonstrate the technologies required for formation flying of multiple spacecraft. An instrument to observe the solar corona will complement the demonstration.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • ASPIICS – Coronograph with the external occulter will address the question of coronal heating and of the role of waves by characterizing propagating fluctuations in the solar wind acceleration region and by looking for oscillations in the intensity and Doppler shift of spectral lines.
  • The combined imaging and spectral diagnostics capabilities available with ASPIICS will allow to map the velocity field of the corona both in the sky plane and along the line-of-sight by measuring the Doppler shifts of emission lines.

Start 2014. The probe is planned to fly to the Mercury, which is only a little explored planet. BepiColombo will consist of two modules, one for magnetic field research and the second for surface analysis.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Solar wind
  • Structure and configuration of Mercury's magnetosphere
  • How, when and where does the solar wind impact the planet?
  • What are the mechanisms for charged particle acceleration in the Hermean magnetosphere?
  • Do substorms occur at Mercury and how do they differ from substorms at Earth?
  • Data distribution system

Solar Orbiter
Start 2017. Close-up study of our Sun and inner heliosphere – the uncharted innermost regions of our Solar System.
Mission on ESA web

Czech participation:

  • Spectrometer/Telescope for Imaging X-rays - STIX: Low-voltage power supply, High-voltage power supply, Flight software
  • Radio and Plasma Waves – RPW: Low voltage power supply (LVPS), Subsystem of the Data Processing Unit (DPU), Time domain sampler (TDS)
  • Coronograph - METIS/COR: Optical components, Some mechanical components