First Czech wins Young Space Leader award of the International Astronautical Federation

12. 10. 2018 | Source: Business and Investment Development Agency (CzechInvest)

Michal Kuneš, a member of the IAF since 2014, focuses on supporting space start-ups in the Czech Republic.

  • Michal Kuneš is the first Czech in history to win a Young Space Leader award
  • International Astronautical Federation president Jean-Yvese Le Galla personally presented the award to Kuneš in Bremen on 5 October 2018
  • Michal Kuneš has been a member of CzechInvest’s ESA BIC Prague team since 2017

On 5 October 2018, Michal Kuneš became the first Czech in history to receive a Young Space Leader award for exceptional students and young professionals in the area of space activities. The award was presented to him by Jean-Yvese Le Galla, president of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Kuneš is currently a member of the team at the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre in Prague (ESA BIC Prague), which is operated by CzechInvest. He has been a member of the IAF since 2014.

“Working for the IAF and Space Generation Advisory Council is purely voluntary and sometimes it isn’t easy to balance it with one’s studies or career. Therefore, I appreciate the fact that the IAF recognised my hard work and presented me with a Young Space Leader award this year. I would like to thank everyone who supported me on my path and I believe that, thanks to this award, I will be better able to promote and support the Czech Republic and the Czech space industry in the world, as well as young people with the same passion for space activities as I have,” says Michal Kuneš.

Young Space Leader awards were presented during the closing ceremony of the 69th International Astronautical Congress in Bremen on 5 October 2018. This year’s recipients were Jackelynne Silva-Martinez of Peru, Michal Kuneš of the Czech Republic and Ali Nasseriof Iran by way of Canada. The awards are given in recognition of exceptional students and young professionals aged 21-35 who display leadership skills, contribute to the development of space activities, support other students and young professionals and contribute to the IAF’s activities. The awards were presented this year for only the seventh time.

The International Astronautical Federation associates more than 350 space organisations and firms around the world. The IAF mediates international dialogue and organises a number of events, including the International Astronautical Congress, which is the biggest annual international event focused on space activities. The congress was attended this year by 6,500 delegates who presented their results and plans for future projects and missions.

Michal Kuneš has been working as a project manager at ESA BIC Prague since 2017, having previously worked at the Czech Space Office from 2012 to 2017. He studied business administration and management at the University of Economics and aerospace systems at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He has been a member of the IAF since 2014, focusing on the issues of project management, business and investment, as well as support for students and young professionals. He is also a member of the international Space Generation Advisory Council, where, among other things, he served as a contact point for the Czech Republic and later worked in management. In 2015, Michal established the Czech Space Network, which brings together Czech students and young professionals who are interested in space activities and enables them to collaborate on space projects.

The year 2018 is marked by several significant events of the space age with Czech involvement, including the 40th anniversary of the first space flight of Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek and the tenth anniversary of the Czech Republic’s accession to the European Space Agency. CzechInvest therefore declared this year to be Czech Space Year 2018, celebrations of which will culminate in November with a number of events for the expert and general public under the name Czech Space Week. More information is available at www.czechspaceyear.com/czech-space-week.

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