For the tenth consecutive year, astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world assembled at the annual Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. Hosted by the Association of Space Explorers-Russia, the Tenth Congress was convened in August, 1994 in Moscow and Ulan-Ude, Russia with over 100 fliers from seventeen countries attending. The Congress program featured public reports and discussions by ASE members on the Congress theme Space and Ecology, the exchange of information on recent developments in space exploration and addressed a number of issues pertaining to ASE activities.
The Opening Ceremony of the Congress took place on Moscow's Red Square beneath a 30-meter high hot air balloon emblazoned with the ASE space helmet logo. The bell, a replica of the Tsar's Bell, represented a welcome from all of Russia to the visiting fliers. Russian Space Agency Director Yuri Koptev greeted the assembled ASE members and deputies of the Russian Federation and Moscow city government read welcome remarks from President Boris Yelstin and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov as interested Muscovites looked on.
The Tenth Congress theme session on Space and Ecology was divided into two halves--the first in Moscow and the second in Ulan-Ude. In Moscow, ASE members discussed the utility of space based assets for environmental monitoring and protection. Vladimir Aksyonov began the discussion by noting that the Earth is experiencing world-wide man-made ecological problems. Aksyonov reviewed data on rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere and global warming. He described how the collection of data on the environment through space-based monitoring is essential to the development of methods for arresting many destructive trends. Viktor Savinykh then addressed the problems of pollution and shrinking natural resources. Savinykh showed slides depicting pollution and resulting atmospheric changes to demonstrate the necessity of continued and expanded remote-sensing in the collection of data on the environment. Savinykh concluded by expressing his strong support for the international space station and its potential as a continuous environmental monitoring platform and a basis for international cooperation in environmental protection. Pavel Popovich concluded the session with a videotape depicting some of the worst ecological disaster areas in Russia and the world.
ASE member reports on Russian and US space program activities for the past year provided members an opportunity for substantive exchange of first-hand information. Russian cosmonaut Vasily Tsibliev reviewed his mission on Soyuz TM-17 to the MIR station and showed a videotape of his docking and EVA activities. Viktor Savinykh presented additional video and slides from the mission and reported on a number of experiments conducted o the station as well as on a variety of observed atmospheric phenomena. Viktor Afanasyev gave a briefing on his flight on Soyuz TM-18 describing biomedical experiments and spectroscopic readings taken of carious regions on Earth. US member John Blaha reviewed US shuttle missions since the last ASE Congress in 1993. He detailed Columbia's life sciences and microgravity missions and space radar laboratory mission of Endeavor.Jeff Hoffman reported on and presented video from the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission, and he called for greater US-Russian information exchange in the areas of space suit design and EVA operations. Astronaut Ron Sega recounted Discovery's Wake Shield Facility mission--the first US-Russian manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Karol Bobko analyzed US and Russian assembly sequences for the international space station as well as traffic models and crew rotation philosophies. ASE members then had the opportunity to tour the Russian Flight Control Center in Kaliningrad as well as NPO Energia's nearby production facility. At the Control Center, members engaged in a two-way video link-up with the three cosmonauts on board MIR.