Jaroslav Sýkora Institute of Space Research at UJEP

On 11 May 2024, eight years of international activity in the field of space research culminated in the establishment of the first ever Czech scientific research institute focused on space at the J. E. University in Ústí nad Labem (UJEP). In addition to space research and related activities, it generally specializes in the functioning of humans and small social groups in a wide range of exposed professions.

The Jaroslav Sýkora Space Research Institute at UJEP started its activities
on 11 May 2024, the day of Jaroslav Sýkora’s 90th birthday. PhDr. Jaroslav Sýkora, Colonel, IAAM, fighter pilot and sociologist, was the founder of space research
in the 1980s in Czechia. He devoted his entire professional and personal life to research in the field of aerospace, establishing several research and expert departments for the top command of the Czech Army.

“My father’s name in the name of the institute is not only a reference to his research, but also a tribute to his hard scientific and research work, when he knew no obstacles and despite long-term serious health problems remained a visionary, an extremely inspiring personality in the pursuit of pro-social goals and visions,” says Kateřina Bernardová Sýkorová, head of the KOSMOW research team and also head of the Jaroslav Sýkora Institute of Space Research at UJEP.

The Czech research team KOSMOW, which Kateřina Bernardová Sýkorová co-founded with her father, Jaroslav Sýkora, in 2016, has been cooperating with the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences at UJEP since 2019, and has been working internationally not only in the field of space research, but also in the complex biopsychosocial analysis of human and small social group functioning in persons operating in highly specific, extreme and overly demanding living or working conditions.

The results of their research are already receiving attention from the international scientific world and specialised popularisation platforms. In an interview for the Czech magazine Universitas The flight to Mars will be extremely mentally and physically demanding for the crew. How to build and train it? Kateřina talks about the Czech team’s elite involvement in the international SIRIUS 2017-2027 project, which is investigating how space crews can cope with a flight to the planet Mars, i.e. long-term isolation and adaptability to the highly specific environment of space.

The scientific outputs of the team in the SIRIUS 2017-2027 project, specifically on the application of the author’s Sociomapping method, have also been published in the prestigious peer-reviewed aerospace journal Aerospace, this year by Mapping  of  Communication in Space  Crews and last year with the article  Application  of a Psychosocial  Approach to the  Identification and Strengthening  of  Adaptation  Mechanisms  of  Humans and a Small  Social Group during  the  Isolation Experiment “SIRIUS 2017-2023”.