XI Congress of the Association of Space Explorers
Warsaw and Krakow, Poland
September 12-19, 1995

General Statement

At the 11th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers, hosted by the beautiful country of Poland, some 50 cosmonauts and astronauts from 17 countries met to discuss space and its implications for modern society.

Today's world is characterized by the integration of space activities into the fabric of contemporary society. Space is providing a quantum leap in such areas as communications, navigation, and weather observations, and is facilitating ever closer ties among the peoples of the world and directly improving the living conditions for all individuals. Space allows a heretofore unprecedented exchange of information and capabilities for transportation and travel within a global society in which more and more nations are or can be given the opportunity to achieve new prosperities through access to the global market place and global production systems.

Observations of Earth from space have created an awareness of the finite limits of this small planet we live on and has pointed humanity toward their responsibilities to monitor and assure the health of our Spaceship Earth. Earth observations from space platforms allow for the real time tracking of hurricanes and typhoons and, by so doing, save human lives in the short term by providing advance disaster warnings never before possible, and in the longer term alerts humanity to undesirable trends in the evolution of the Earth's ecosystem. Research accomplished in space onboard Space Station MIR and the Space Shuttle thus far have just recently provided us with tantalizing results which provide great promise for the future of all humankind. The International Space Station now under development will provide the means to realize the true value of these first promising results--particularly in the areas of medical and materials science.

We cosmonauts and astronauts realize that the presently available capabilities in space are the result of spin-offs from the space exploration of the past. Society must now work hard to maintain the momentum in space exploration if we are to realize the direct as well as yet unimaginable spin-offs and resulting applications of the future.

Space flight has great potential to satisfy the human spirit. Specifically, the human spirit responds to the opportunity for the exploration of the unknown reaches of space. Important by-products of the excitement of space exploration are the motivation it can provide to the young people of the world, the stimulus it can provide for education, and the long-term hope it can provide to all people.

Further, the growing international cooperation that is required by today's ambitious space projects will advance the goal of a peaceful planet here on Earth as we learn to live together in space. We have no doubts that these new projects endorse the human spirit. The Association of Space Explorers likewise endorses these projects to allow the human spirit to flourish and expand.

Humanity requires dreams to help it contend with the difficulties of everyday life. The hope and feeling of being able to realize such dreams is the asset that should be forwarded to our next generation. The Association of Space Explorers endorses strongly new bold space missions such as returning to the Moon or going to Mars, not just as dreams, but as achievements that can happen.



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