III Congress of the Association of Space Explorers
Mexico City, Mexico
October 19-23, 1987

On Thursday morning the members dispersed around Mexico City to give joint presentations at local universities. Without exception, the astronauts and cosmonauts spoke to overflowing auditoriums and were warmly and enthusiastically received by interested and curious student audiences. In arranging these appearances, Congress host Rodolfo Neri-Vela had artfully engaged his nation's "next generation in space" ( the Congress theme) in a manner that was educational and beneficial for everyone.

In the afternoon the members and the press gathered again at the Museum of Technology for a marathon session of speeches, taped interviews, space flight footage, special introductions and viewer questions and answers telecast live throughout the country. This space media extravaganza featured Dr. Thomas O. Paine, former NASA Administrator and Chairman of the recent National Commission on Space, French astronaut Patrick Baudry and Soviet cosmonaut Alexander Viktorenko, who recently returned from a visit to the Soviet orbital station MIR. Each speaker outlined his vision of the future of his respective space program and each echoed the ASE's call for intensified international cooperation in space activities.

At the Award Banquet that evening Dr. Paine was presented with the annual Planetary Award for his dedication to the next generation in space, the world's youth. In the absence of the yet to be completed Crystal Helmet, members Rusty Schweickart (US) and Alexei Leonov (USSR) presented to Dr. Paine a signed Congress commemorative poster and a black sombrero signed by all the attending members.

Friday morning the official activities concluded with a final plenary session and a press conference, where the official Congress Statement was issued. Additionally, Rodolfo Neri-Vela (Mexico--host), Bertalan Farkas (Hungary) and Edgar Mitchell (US) were presented medals bearing the ASE logo for their hard work in producing and hosting the first three Congresses.

Results of the Congress:

In Mexico City the ASE expanded its membership to 53 astronauts and cosmonauts from 16 countries, over one-quarter of all space fliers. Outgoing Executive Committee members Edgar Mitchell (US) and Sigmund Jähn (GDR) were replaced by Taylor Wang (US) and Georgi Ivanov (Bulgaria). The Association completed work on its charter and ratified a decision to register in Switzerland as a legally incorporated international non-governmental organization. Voting to press on with current projects ("The Home Planet" and the lecture series), the delegates made several recommendations to the international space community proposed by the working group on space cooperation. These recommendations, backed by a firm commitment on the part of the individual members, included:

  • the exchange of experienced crews between the national space programs and the development of mutually compatible operation and training procedures;

  • the implementation of joint international experiments and operations with existing capabilities on upcoming flights;

  • the study of the feasibility of establishing a permanent international rescue capability for all space flight operations, regardless of national origin;

  • the implementation of joint projects required for the establishment of capabilities for an international manned mission to Mars.

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