Jan Kolar graduated in nuclear physics at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague in 1967, where he also received his PhD in space physics in 1978. He started his professional carrier in satellite remote sensing in 1975, becoming one of the pioneers of the field in former Czechoslovakia.
During the last decades, he has been the principle investigator of several international projects in the areas of geo-information systems and remote sensing. He is author of a national monograph on remote sensing, several textbooks on remote sensing and astrodynamics, as well as several scientific articles and research reports published in magazines and presented during national and international conferences.
In 1981, he founded and led the first Laboratory for remote sensing at the Czech Technical University. He founded the very first commercial service for earth observation satellite data applications in the Czech Republic. Today, he gives lectures and is head of department at the Charles University in Prague.
From 1984 to 1992, he was vice-chairman of the Czechoslovak Committee for Space Research and chairman of the Working Group for Remote Sensing.
In the mid-90s, he launched governmental dialogue with the European Space Agency (ESA) and actively participated in the building of the Czech-ESA relations. During the last 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of the Czech space infrastructure and significantly contributed to the creation of the Czech Space Office. After the Czech Republic became a full ESA member in 2008, he headed the Czech delegation during the first period of national integration into the agency’s programmes.
Kolar has participated in more than two dozen IACs. He has been involved in IAF’s Committee on Earth Observation for the last ten years, as co-chair and rapporteur of technical sessions. He is also member of the International Project Management Committee. He was chairman of the IAF Nomination Committee and chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 61st IAC held in Prague in 2010.
He is a member of the International Astronautical Academy where he contributes to the activities of the science section. He represents the Czech Republic in the European Committee on GMES and in the Space Programme Committee of the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for Science and Research.