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Hungary looking to send astronaut to ISS

Hungaryʼs is beginning a long-term scientific mission, with the intention to send a Hungarian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) by the mid-2020ʼs, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said, according to a report by government website kormany.hu.

"In view of the fact that we regard space research as a sector of industry of the future, it has also been given a role within the strategic economic program aimed at facilitating Hungary’s exit from the current crisis, with significant funding being provided to enterprises that are active within the field," Szijjártó explained, after a meeting of EU ministers in charge of space.

He added that the government has created a comprehensive national space strategy, looking to increase the role of Hungarian businesses within the sector.

Regarding sending an astronaut to ISS, Szijjártó said, "In preparation for this, we are working on three major projects, two of which involve sending a science satellite into space, while the third involves the development of an onboard measuring system, which will be installed in the International Space Station."

Szijjártó also pointed out that Hungary has doubled its contribution to the budget of the European Space Agency.

The minister noted that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the first Hungarian astronaut making his voyage to space.

At the end of his speech at the event, Szijjártó asked the European Commission to enter into negotiations with the European Space Agency regarding the budget of joint programs, and invited attendees to visit Budapest to attend the International Astronautical Congress, which was supposed to be held in 2020, but has had to be postponed because of the coronavirus epidemic.