“Hungary would like so send an astronaut into space in 2024”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced at the European Space Agency’s Space19+ ministerial conference in Seville on Wednesday.

“The space industry will be one of the most important sectors of industry in future. This is another development and take-off opportunity for Hungary, at the focus of which is the training of the second Hungarian astronaut and his/her sending into space to the international Space Station (ISS), which we regard as being realistically achievable by 2024 in cooperation with Russian space agency Roscosmos”, the Minister said.

At the international conference, Mr. Szijjártó spoke about the fact that the second and third space modules in the history of the Hungarian space industry were launched from New Zealand this week, which will be measuring artificial electromagnetic smog in the upper atmosphere for the first time ever. “Further goals include Hungary putting its own satellite into orbit in 2024, in addition to which we will be putting Hungarian scientific and measuring instruments into commission in the International Space station by 2025 in cooperation with Russia. Furthermore, a space weather mission is also in preparation, within the framework of which we are constructing a fleet of micro-satellites”, he added.

“Hungary’s new foreign trade and foreign policy aspirations include the fact that it should once again take part in the peaceful use of space”, the Minister declared. “Unfortunately, Hungary has until now not been a factor within this sector of industry, despite the fact that Hungarian enterprises and Hungarian universities have accumulated a great deal of and major capacities, professional knowledge and technology within this field”, he said, adding that the government would now like to achieve a change while building on precisely these.

The Minister reported on the strategic decisions made by the Hungarian government in the interests of achieving this, such as the supplementation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s portfolio with the field of space research and the establishment of a national space research fund on 1 January. Mr. Szijjártó also mentioned that next year Hungary will be celebrating the anniversary of the first Hungarian space flight in 1980, and Budapest will be hosting an international space research conference to mark the occasion.