The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an international nonprofit professional and educational organization of over 350 individuals from 35 nations who have flown in space. Founded in 1985, ASE's mission is to provide a forum for professional dialogue among individuals who have flown in space, support space science and exploration for the benefit of all, promote education in science and engineering, foster greater environmental awareness, and encourage international cooperation in the human exploration of space.

Executive Summary ASE Charter History of ASE ASE Awards

Mission: to provide a forum for professional development and for the exchange of technical information among space flight professionals; to advocate international cooperation and operational compatibility in current and future space exploration endeavors:

  • Planetary Congress: ASE organizes a Planetary Congress to serve as a forum where members interact professionally and develop ASE programs. The week-long event generates communication on issues of common interest to the international space community, government agencies and the public. Members exchange information about their national space programs, make technical presentations on selected topics relevant to human space flight operations and visit with media and local communities to promote expanded awareness of the benefits of human space exploration. In October, 2010, ASE convened its XXIII Planetary Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Technical Symposia: ASE–USA hosts a series of quarterly dinner symposia featuring keynote speakers from the NASA and aerospace contractor community. These events are designed to facilitate professional development for active astronauts as well as to allow former astronauts and interested members of the aerospace community to discuss current and future plans for human space exploration.  Past topics have included “Life After Space – Transitioning from NASA to the Private Sector,” “An Early History of STS Development,” “Physiological Research Issues for Long-Duration Missions,” “New Opportunities for Exploration,” “Design Requirements for Next Generation Vehicles,” and “Prospects for Robotic Repair of the Hubble Space Telescope,”ISS- What Is It Good For, Anyway?,” “Update on CEV Design and Mission Architecture and “A New Constellation on the Horizon”.
  • In 2009, ASE was represented at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, at the AIAA Planetary Defense Conference, at the 37th Sesssion of the Committee on Space Rescue, and at the International Astronautical Congress in Korea.
  • ASE–USA National Congress: In 2004 ASE­–USA initiated a local version of the international ASE Congress in conjunction with the biannual JSC Astronaut Reunion. The most recent National Congress was held in 2010, in conjunction with the 2010 Astronaut Reunion. This event is designed to allow greater participation by ASE-USA member astronauts as well as corporate and community leaders in local ASE events. The two-day event includes briefings on current spaceflight topics, tours of the Johnson Space Center, a golf tournament and community outreach activities.
  • Near Earth Objects Committee: The ASE Committee on Near Earth Objects was formed in 2005 to oversee the delivery of the ASE Open Letter on NEOs to world leaders and relevant international organizations. It sought opportunities, as reflected in the letter, to support both national and international efforts to address the challenges implicit in protecting the Earth from near-Earth object impacts. To facilitate this process the ASE, through its Committee on NEOs, convened a series of workshops, calling on experts from around the world with relevant experience, to address this challenge in detail and to prepare, for submission to COPUOS, a draft NEO deflection protocol for its consideration. The workshops were held in France, Romania, Costa Rica and the United States. The NEO Committee formally presented the results of its work to the United Nations in June, 2009.


Mission: to inspire students to excellence in science, mathematics and engineering; to promote greater public awareness of the significant benefits of space science and exploration:

  • Windows on Earth: ASE has partnered with the Technical Education Research Centers (TERC) to develop a museum and web-delivered 3D interactive Earth visualization system. The project has four learning goals: 1) Earth literacy – learning about Earth’s processes and understanding Earth as a dynamic, integrated system; 2) Visual literacy –working with visual information (Earth imagery) as a source of data; 3) Spirit of exploration – experiencing the joy, fascination and personally-driven curiosity that drive further Earth exploration; 4) Planetary stewardship – embracing and internalizing our connections with our home planet Earth and our individual roles in taking care of it. In October, 2008 the project was launched on a demonstration flight to the International Space Station onboard Soyuz TMA-13; ASE and TERC are currently working to establish a permanent presence for Windows on Earth aboard the ISS.
  • Astronaut School Visits: It is a time-tested fact that astronauts are heroes to generations of Americans, adults and children alike. It is also true that many young people are inspired to excellence, in many subjects including science and math, because of the excitement generated by human space exploration. Astronaut visits, particularly when complemented by supporting classroom studies or curricula can serve as a mechanism to enhance student interest in science and math. NASA receives thousands of requests annually for astronaut appearances and is able to fulfill only a small fraction of them. Many of these unfulfilled requests are schools which do not have the resources to pay for an astronaut to visit. ASE–USA, in cooperation with the Astronaut Office, endeavors to fill as many of these requests as possible
  • Keynote Presentations Program: ASE members regularly participate in public presentations to professional, trade, youth, educational and other organizations that have a stake in how society meets the challenges of the future. Each ASE member is an experienced public speaker who draws from his or her own background, including space flight experience, in designing a presentation tailored to the needs of the requesting organization. The result is a stimulating and educational dialogue between astronaut and audience.
  • Public Service Announcement Campaign: to encourage the study (particularly among female and minority students) of science, mathematics and engineering; to encourage students to stay in school and to live a drug-free lifestyle; to promote the direct benefits of space research and exploration to life on earth.
  • United Nations:  ASE maintains observer status with the U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and contributes the space travelers’ perspective to the Committee’s policy formulations and recommendations.
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