Poland is set to embark on a significant milestone in its space history as Waldemar Buda, the Minister of Development and Technology, announced plans for a Polish astronaut to journey to the International Space Station (ISS) in the year 2024. This anticipated mission would mark the second instance of a Pole venturing into space, following in the esteemed footsteps of Mirosław Hermaszewski, who participated in a groundbreaking eight-day Soviet space expedition in 1978.
August 4, 2023, will be etched in history as the day Waldemar Buda solidified an agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Axiom Space, a prominent U.S. entity within the aerospace sector, for the impending Polish astronaut mission to the ISS. The collaboration is poised to carve an extraordinary narrative.
“An amazing story is being written before our eyes,” Buda told The First News. “We have a candidate, but his participation in the mission still needs to be approved by the European Space Agency and our American partners.”
While a potential candidate has been identified, Buda emphasized that the final green light is contingent upon the approval of both the European Space Agency and esteemed American partners. In a nod to Poland’s burgeoning technological prowess, Buda underscored that the selected astronaut will be granted the opportunity to put the most cutting-edge Polish innovations to the test.
“For our companies, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain a unique experience that will confirm the high quality of Polish products,” said Buda.
In a recent communication on the digital platform X (formerly Twitter), Buda revealed that Poland will nominate Sławosz Uznański, a distinguished Polish scientist, as a candidate for this groundbreaking space mission.
According to the Development and Technology Ministry, Axiom Space, in conjunction with the European Space Agency, will orchestrate every facet essential for the mission’s preparation and completion. This comprehensive support encompasses access to top-tier training facilities and instructors, provisioning of requisite equipment and safety certifications, proficient in-orbit management, and unwavering post-mission assistance.
Integral to the expedition’s scope is the dedicated focus on technological experimentation, a facet championed by the chosen Polish astronaut. The mission holds not only scientific implications but also an educational dimension, as articulated by Kamila Król, Deputy Minister of Development and Technology. Król expressed her hopes that the instructional sessions broadcasted from the ISS, conducted by a Polish astronaut, would cascade to reach numerous students, fostering a burgeoning interest in space exploration among the youth of Poland.
In the present year, Poland’s commitment to space advancement has been substantiated by a €295 million (US $321.62 million) increment to its financial contribution to the European Space Agency. This augmentative support will facilitate increased participation from Polish enterprises in an array of development programs spanning satellite communication, navigation systems, and Earth observation initiatives.
In an effort to further enrich the Polish space landscape, enterprises within the Polish space sector are invited to submit their experimental proposals for the ISS before September 8. With a vision to expedite innovation, selected projects will be slated for execution aboard the ISS in the year 2024, as envisaged by Grzegorz Wrochna, President of the Polish Space Agency. This impending space odyssey not only holds promise for technological advancement but also for inspiring and instilling curiosity among the young minds of Poland.
Featured image: ESA Astronaut Class of 2022 – Sławosz Uznański. Credit: ESA – P. Sebirot