Prague, Czech Republic – The popular Czech puppet character Hurvínek will take off and fly into space this summer, local media reported.
A scaled-down glass figurine of one of the most popular characters of Czech pop culture will fly to the outer edge of the earth’s stratosphere at the end of June, according to representatives of the Spejbl and Hurvínek Theatre in Prague.
The two-centimetre Hurvínek model was designed for the occasion, as the original-size wooden puppet would not fit.
“We had to create a very special Hurvínek character for this occasion, and it had to undergo several stress tests to make sure it would survive the space flight,” commented David Janošek, art director of the Spejbl and Hurvínek Theatre.
“He will be wearing a special white spacesuit and we are terribly excited to see him travelling somewhere in space,” he added.
One of the all-time Czech puppet favourites will fly up to 550 km above the surface of the earth in the Planetum1 satellite, launched into orbit by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
This will be the 11th satellite launch in the history of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic.
Hurvínek was created nearly 100 years ago by Czech artist Josef Skupa, along with his father sidekick Spejbl. The father-son duo has since become one of the most popular children’s characters in Czech culture, appearing regularly on stage, in the theatre, as well as on television.
“Spejbl and Hurvínek are not only stars on the stage of our theatre, but two real asteroids are also named after them,” Denisa Kirschnerová, director of the Spejbl and Hurvínek Theatre, said in reference to two asteroids discovered in 1997 from an observatory in Central Bohemia.
“Now Hurvínek will have a chance to look at them from the deck of a satellite that ascends into the stratosphere of our planet.”
Hurvínek’s spatial adventure comes more than a decade after another all-time Czech favourite, Krtek, took a similar trip.
A plush figure of the mischievous Czech mole was taken to space by American astronaut Andrew Feustel in 2011. The gesture was made in relation to Feustel’s wife, who has Czech roots.