by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 09, 2011
The Association of Space Explores (ASE) Planetary Congress has started in Moscow and will run from the 5th to the 9th of September. The ASE and its participants are cosmonauts and astronauts and the veterans of world space programmes.
It's no mere chance that Russia has been chosen as the venue of this year's event. A few months ago, mankind marked the 50th anniversary of the world's first space flight by Yuri Gagarin. In honour of this event, Russia has declared this year as the Year of Space.
Space exploration is making rapid progress, and the number of people, who saw our planet through the porthole of spacecraft, has already exceeded 500. These people represent dozens of countries, says Alexei Leonov, pilot-cosmonaut of the Soviet Union, who made the world's first space walk:
"Any person who made at least one orbit around the earth and any man or woman from any country regardless of faith or membership of a political party can become a member of the association.
"The association is aimed at coordinating the efforts of cosmonauts and astronauts, using resources for solving complicated global problems and establishing relations between countries. We can often reach agreements faster than the heads of states.
"The Soyuz-Apollo first international programme and the International Space Station are a noteworthy contribution of these people. It's interesting to recall Neil Armstrong's words concerning the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin - "He called all of us into space", Alexei Leonov said.
In the past 50 years, manned space flights have gone a long way, says the organizer of the congress, Victor Savinykh, pilot-cosmonaut addressing the gathering:
"We achieved the continuous work of the crew of six cosmonauts and astronauts on board the ISS. When space shuttles flew to the station, up to 12 people worked together. The space agencies of leading countries say confidently about planning manned flights to the moon and the Mars," Victor Savinykh said.
During the forum, experts will discuss ways to promote space exploration. There are two ways. The first one is inertial. Most likely, China will follow this path because it will have to repeat what has been done by the Soviet Union and the U.S. Many countries will inevitably have to do so. Meanwhile, Russia and the U.S. are searching for new strategic targets.
This is a very important task. The next step should be the development of a new manned spacecraft with other capabilities and this will be followed by the creation of stations or factories in orbit to assemble large spacecraft for sending people to other planets.
Source: RIA Novosti
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US astronaut shortage poses risks: study
Washington (AFP) Sept 7, 2011
The United States does not have enough astronauts to meet the changing needs of human spaceflight in the coming years, warned a report Wednesday by a non-profit group that advises on science policy. The shrinking American astronaut corps poses risks to the US investment in human spaceflight and NASA should take steps to boost the size of its space-flying crew, the National Research Council s ... read more
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