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Czech TV to shoot its first interview with astronaut in orbit

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Prague, April 6 (CTK) – The public Czech Television (CT) will be for the first time in the country’s history connected with the crew of a space station on Monday and offer an interview with U.S. astronaut Andrew Feustel to its viewers, CT spokeswoman Karolina Blinkova said on Friday.

Feustel has taken a plush toy of the Little Mole, a Czech cartoon character, to the orbit.

Czech TV will show the telerecording from the space in the Hyde Park Civilisation programme on CT24 channel. The whole interview will be broadcast at 20:05 on April 14, while a part of it should be on the screen immediately after the shooting, that is on Monday, April 9.

The signal will be brought through several satellites to New Mexico from where a satellite of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will send it to CT.

NASA has allocated the longest possible time provided for the media to CT, that is 20 minutes, Blinkova said.

CT was negotiating about an interview from the space for months.

Feustel has agreed with the idea of a TV broadcast since the beginning and he supported it during the talks with NASA, Hyde Park Civilisation chief programme manager Gabriela Cihlarova said

“Along with Andrew, the programme guests will be his wife Indira, whose mother was born in Znojmo (south Moravia), and their sons Ari and Aden, who will join us from Canada,” she added.

The broadcasting will be very technically challenging as the International Space Station (ISS) is 400 kilometres above the Earth surface moving at the high speed of 27,000 kilometers per hour. This is why ground radio telescopes cannot be used to connect with it as the station is seen from the Earth for a few minutes only before it disappears beyond the horizon, Cihlarova explained.

Feustel launched his third space mission in March. It was to last six months, but is likely to be extended by another month until October 24 at the request of the Russian Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, said Pavel Suchan, from the Astronomical Institute of the the Czech Academy of Sciences (AV).

Feustel has taken the Little Mole (Krtecek) to the space for the second time. For the first time, the figure accompanied him during the mission of the Endeavour STS-134 space shuttle in 2011 when he spent 16 days on its board.

In his free time, Feustel also cooperates with the programme “Into Space with Little Mole” organised by the AV’s Astronomical Institute and the Czech Space Office. He has sent his first photo from the orbit to the website and is to carry out some experiments proposed by Czech students.

Besides, Feustel has another two items connected with the Czech Republic: the copies of two pictures from the Vedem magazine created by boys in the Jewish internment camp in Terezin (Theresienstadt), north Bohemia, during WWII.

Feustel left for his first space trip in 2009 when he helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope during his 13-day mission. He then took a Czech flag and a copy of Pisne kosmicke (Cosmic Songs), a book of poems by Czech 19th-century writer Jan Neruda.

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