II Congress of the Association of Space Explorers
Budapest, Hungary
October 13-17, 1986

General Statement

Budapest, Hungary, October 16, 1986-Meeting here this week, the Association of Space Explorers has focused on the theme of its second annual planetary congress, "Toward Space Civilization." Thirty-two cosmonauts and astronauts from thirteen countries have come together to reflect on this theme based on their personal experiences of space flight.

The goal of the association-to promote the cooperative exploration of space and the development of space technology-was discussed in light of the evolving capability for long duration human activity, both in orbit and on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov said during the discussions, "The leap into space and its practical utilization is one of humanity's greatest technological achievements, and the development of civilization will be inextricably linked with space exploration."

The members of the association discussed among themselves increasing duration of current and planned missions and the increasing interaction between manned and unmanned space research. Manned flights of up to 237 days have now occurred and longer and more ambitious flights are planned.

Cosmonaut Vladimir Solovyov briefed the assembled astronauts and cosmonauts on the new capabilities of the Soviet Mir orbital station, which permits the testing and development of technologies critical to the extension of human stay-times and complex operations on the future.

Recognizing the current plans in the United States for a continuously orbiting space station, the increasing capabilities evolving in space habitation point clearly toward the beginnings of human civilization in space. According to cosmonaut Sigmund Jaehn, " My dreams connected with the beginning of exploration of Mars could be realized even in the near future. But I consider that such projects will be possible only on the basis of close cooperation on Earth and in space."

Both the United States and the Soviet Union are leading international efforts in uniting countries of the world in research of the planets and the solar system. "We are approaching that point in the development of human capability where young people alive today may live and work on Mars." said Rusty Schweickart, an Apollo 9 astronaut. "The manner in which we begin this process of civilizing space will set the pattern for generation to comes." he said.

The spirit of international cooperation, begun in both unmanned space research and in the Apollo/Soyuz project, should be extended into future space activities, especially as humanity begins to establish communities beyond the confines of Earth.

The ASE recognizes the existence of difficult international political issues regarding the development and uses of space. Members of the organization have expresses their support for the success of political leadership in its efforts to reduce international tensions.

Additionally, the members of the association have urged that discussions regarding the cooperative development of space, especially those leading to the extension of human capability in this new environment, continue at all levels within the international community.



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