In July 1982, former NASA
astronaut Rusty Schweickart met informally with
cosmonauts Alexei Leonov, Vitaly Sevastyanov, Georgi
Grechko and several key Soviet officials in Moscow to
explore the idea of establishing an organization of space
explorers and found interest in and support for the idea.
In April, 1983 a follow-on ad hoc working group of
astronauts and cosmonauts laid out a set of guiding
principles that would govern such an organization and set
plans in motion for the establishment of an annual
meeting. A final astronaut/cosmonaut planning meeting took place near Paris in September 1984.
Planetary Congress of the Association of Space
Explorers opened at the same chateau in Cernay, France on
Twenty-five astronauts and cosmonauts from 13 nations
participated. At an April 1983 planning meeting, the
participants had realized that they shared an enhanced
reverence for the Earth as a result of their space flight
experience, and decided that the theme of the first
meeting should be "The Home Planet." In this
spirit, they also decided to present an award to an
individual whose life demonstrated a commitment to the
Earth's environment, and unanimously agreed upon Captain
Jacques-Yves Cousteau Cousteau made the keynote
presentation at the Congress, saying to those present,
"You help us contemplate the stars. You have changed
the views of mankind toward the outside, toward the
cosmos, toward the unknown."Among other things
accomplished at the first Congress, the members drafted
an international charter, laid out an organizational purpose and goals,
selected a seven member international executive
committee, initiated a book project, held an Alan
Bean-Alexei Leonov art exhibit, and set their next
meeting for October, 1986 in Budapest, Hungary.
In its first year the U.S. members of ASE
set up a nonprofit corporation, office and staff in San
Francisco, established an electronic mail network for its
members which included a cosmonaut account in Moscow,
initiated work on its first book The Home Planet (eventually published in 1988), and participated in young
astronaut/cosmonaut exchanges and a school satellite
The Second Planetary
Congress took place in Budapest in 1986, drawing 32
flyers from 12 countries; the theme of the Congress was
"Toward Space Civilization." The members
honored Dr. Oleg Gazenko, the foremost Soviet expert in
space biomedical problems and Dr. Gerard O'Neill, the
space colonization visionary. In their official
Congress statement, the group called for a
continuation of the cooperative spirit of the Apollo
Soyuz Test Project in future space exploration. ASE
members reported on recent developments in their
respective space programs, made a series of community
appearances, finalized the ASE charter, selected an official ASE
logo (the space helmet with Earth reflected in the
visor), moved forward on approval for an ASE book, The
Home Planet and approved a program of joint
astronaut/cosmonaut lecture tours.
In 1987, work on The Home Planet continued and joint
astronaut/cosmonaut lecture tours took place in the U.S.
and the USSR. The Third
Planetary Congress in Mexico City in 1987 drew 31
members from 11 countries. The theme of the Third
Congress was "The Next Generation in Space: People
and Technology." The members honored former NASA
Administrator Thomas Paine. The Congress featured a space
art exhibit, a day dedicated to community lectures and
visits, and space program updates. ASE ratified its
charter, met with the publishers of The Home Planet,
and previewed the film For All Mankind.
In Mexico, ASE explicitly endorsed steps
for the world's space programs to take in developing
international cooperative efforts in space. Specifically,
the members resolved to --
"encourage the exchange of
experienced crews between the national space programs
and the development of mutually compatible training
and operation procedures, advocate the conducting of
joint international experiments and operations with
existing capabilities on upcoming flights, support
the study of the feasibility of establishing
permanent international rescue capability for all
flight operations, and promote the development of
joint projects required for the establishment of the
feasibility of a manned Mars mission."
In early 1988, ASE sent a letter to President Reagan with copies to Congressional
committees urging that space rescue be considered in the
expanding dialogue with the Soviet Union at both the
presidential and agency levels. That year Congress asked
NASA to prepare a report on space docking and crew
1988 also saw the publication and
promotion of The Home Planet, another round of
U.S. and Soviet lecture tours, and the Fourth Planetary
Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Fourth Congress
theme was "Space & Evolution," and
pioneering Soviet space engineer Boris Raushenbakh was
honored by the membership. Members continued the
tradition of space program updates and community
appearances. In Sofia, ASE decided to move forward with
its promotion of an international space rescue
capability, and laid plans to discuss its associated
challenges at the next Congress.
ASE expanded its lecture tour program to Japan, sponsored
visits by Soviet cosmonauts to NASA facilities,
participated in meetings of the IAA Safety and Rescue
Committee and the IAA International Space Plans and
Policy Committee, provided members for openings of Home
Planet exhibits, sent member John Fabian to the IAF
meeting in Malaga, Spain to deliver a paper on the
history of space rescue, and prepared for an
international conference on space rescue at its Fifth Planetary
Congress in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The theme of the V Planetary
Congress, which drew 50 astronauts from 12 countries, was
"Space for Earth," and Yash Pal was honored for
his work in harnessing the power of satellites for the
benefit of rural communities in India. The members also
presented a special award to author/inventor Arthur C.
Clarke. The Congress featured the now standard fare of
space program updates, community appearances and an art
exhibit. Also, several members granted interviews to a
U.N.-commissioned film crew as part of ASE's cooperation
in the production of the film Our Planet Earth. In
a general Congress
statement, the members called for the expanded
application of space resources for the benefit of Earth.
Finally, after hearing from a series of invited experts
on the subject of space rescue, the members issued a statement calling on the space programs to move forward with space
rescue, and ASE subsequently prepared detailed
proceedings of the rescue conference which were widely
distributed to international government officials.
1990 was a banner year for ASE. U.S. membership tripled. ASE
sponsored a visit by NASA astronauts to Soviet space
facilities and a cosmonaut's visit to NASA facilities. 40
ASE members participated in an Earth Day ceremony at the United Nations. ASE joined the
Smithsonian Resident Associate Program and NASA in the
execution of a lecture series at the National Air and
Space Museum. The astronaut/cosmonaut lecture program was
expanded to Germany. The IAA International Space Plans
and Policy Committee and Crew Safety and Rescue Committee
invited ASE-USA leaders John Fabian and John-David
Bartoe, respectively, to participate in their work.
Bartoe delivered an ASE-sponsored paper on international
cooperation on space stations at the IAF meeting in
Planetary Congress in The Netherlands drew 53
astronauts from 11 countries, and the theme was
"Space Brings People Together." The members
honored Dutch astronomer Hendrick van de Hulst for his
pioneering efforts in promoting international cooperation
in space research and issued a statement outlining the ways space has drawn people together and
the promise international space cooperation holds for the
future. At the COSPAR meeting in The Hague that same
week, ASE sponsored a symposium of laboratory scientists
and astronauts on "Human Performance in Space"
from both the biomedical and operational perspectives.
activity level remained high in 1991. ASE-USSR
hosted a 30th anniversary celebration of Yuri Gagarin's
flight that featured visits to Soviet space facilities,
with 19 ASE-USA members participating. ASE and the George
Washington University Space Policy Institute launched a
series of high-level invitational dinner discussions on
international cooperation in space. ASE members
participated in environment-focused programming at the
NEC company's pavilion at the Telecom '91 exposition in
Geneva. ASE entered into a partnership with Groupe Bull,
Spot Image and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature to
bring together information and human resources for forest
conservation. Astronauts and cosmonauts teamed up for
joint appearances before high school and university
audiences. ASE sponsored a 1992 Space Explorers calendar,
signed a publishing contract for a book of astronaut and
cosmonaut essays, enrolled international ASE members in a
U.S. space trading card project, and provided members for
interviews with a British playwright researching his next
work, "The Blue Ball."
Planetary Congress in Berlin drew 57 astronauts from
10 countries; the theme was "Space Has No
Boundaries," and the members honored German Foreign
Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher for his work in breaking
down barriers to international cooperation in space. The
Congress featured space program updates, theme addresses,
and a special conference on "Human Exploration of
the Solar System" with invited experts among the
speakers. Also, members participated in video interviews
to be used in the PBS International Space Year
documentary series Space Age.
In 1992, ASE sponsored
U.S. members' attendance at a Russian space launch, sent
members to Japan, Mexico and Kent State University for
speaking engagements, and arranged members' participation
in several international space conferences including one
on legal aspects of manned space flight in Germany and
the U.S. Space Foundation's
8th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. ASE
continued its sponsorship of international cooperation
dinner discussions and published a paper calling for a
new approach to international cooperation. In the area of
environmental activity, ASE distributed the Earth Pledge
to its U.S. members to sign in support of the Earth
Summit process begun in Rio de Janeiro, worked to
coordinate members' participation in a U.N. ISY Mission
to Planet Earth stamp inauguration ceremony, and
continued its partnership in the Arbor Project.
ASE-USA's largest undertaking ever, the Eighth Planetary
Congress in Washington in August, drew 99 astronauts
from eighteen countries. The theme of the Congress was
"To Mars Together," and members honored both
author Isaac Asimov and the Challenger Center for Space
Science Education. Discussions ranged from space program
updates to new ideas and initiatives and the futures of
the space agencies. Members made community appearances at
Georgetown University, held a joint public session with
Carl Sagan and the Planetary Society, and helped build a
simulated 'Marsville' settlement with Challenger Center
In 1993, ASE published
and distributed the Proceedings
of the 8th Congress to space policy makers and
leaders of the international space community. On Earth
Day ASE sent a member representative to participate in a
U.N. ceremony marking the permanent emplacement of the
Crystal Treaty presented to the U.N. by members in 1990.
Preparatory work on the book of astronaut essays, The
Greatest Adventure, came to completion. ASE continued
its collaboration on the Arbor Project, along with its
sponsorship of the George Washington University
International Cooperation discussions. The ASE-USA board
of directors issued a statement in support of the
international space station, and board member John Fabian
testified before a Congressional panel in support of the
proposed collaboration with Russia on the station
Planetary Congress, held in Vienna, Austria, drew 81
astronauts from sixteen nations. The theme of the
Congress was "Space for Life," and the members
honored Sir Hermann Bondi for his many contributions to
international space scientific research. At the Congress,
the members discussed the contributions that space
biomedical research has made to the understanding of
life's biological processes as well as the future
challenges and opportunities presented by an extended
human presence in space. The Congress program included
space program updates, a special session on Space and the
Environment, and community appearances throughout
1994 marked the 25th
anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the moon. To
commemorate the event, ASE members from five countries
came to Washington to participate in a number of events
designed to raise awareness of space exploration and of
man's first steps on another world. ASE's second book, The
Greatest Adventure, was published and enjoyed great
Also in 1994, ASE addressed the theme
"Space and Ecology" at its Tenth Planetary
Congress in Moscow and Ulan-Ude, Russia. Over 100
astronauts and cosmonauts from fifteen countries attended
the Congress to discuss ways space-based observation
platforms help identify and characterize environmental
problems. Of particular concern at this Congress was the
long-term health of Lake Baikal in Siberia. ASE members
traveled from Moscow to Lake Baikal in order to gain an
understanding of the environmental issues surrounding
this unique ecosystem and to exchange ideas with local
scientists, political leaders and residence. Members also
presented a special award to the widow of Yuri Gagarin to
honor the world's first man in space on the occasion of
the sixtieth anniversary of his birth.
In 1995, ASE relocated from San Francisco to Washington, DC.
Ongoing activities included ASE co-sponsorship of
occasional dinner symposia with the George Washington
University's Space Policy Institute and representation of
the ASE at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space. Under the auspices of the ASE's
International Standing Committee on Ecology, the Earth
Education Exhibit was commissioned for display at the
United Nations in Vienna, Austria. ASE also initiated a
Corporate Membership Campaign; Charter Corporate Sponsors
of ASE include ANSER, Computer Sciences Corporation,
INTEC, McDonnell Douglas and Calspan SRL Corporation.
Planetary Congress in Warsaw/Krakow, Poland drew 50
astronauts and cosmonauts from 12 countries. The theme of
the congress was "Space and Contemporary
Society." Science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem was
honored with the ASE Planetary Award, the Crystal Helmet.
Polish President and Pope John Paul II were presented
with special ASE awards, produced by ASE member Alexei
Leonov, for their contributions to the development of
civil society in Poland. At the Congress, attendees
discussed the role and impact of space exploration and
technology on modern and future society. Members also
attended international space program update sessions and
visited several notable Polish educational and scientific
In 1996, ASE participated in a variety of activities in concert
with other professional and educational space advocacy
organizations. ASE and its members supported and
participated in the official debut of the X Prize Foundation in
St. Louis, appeared at schools, universities and
community events nationwide, assisted with the Challenger
Centers' Marsville and Space Shuttle simulation projects,
participated at the US Space Foundation's National Space
Symposium, and co-sponsored the von Braun Exploration
Forum and Dinner. Internationally, ASE member Dorin
Prunariu (Romania) represented ASE as an observer-member
of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in
Vienna, Austria and ASE-USA member John Fabian convened a
member panel at the International Aeronautics Federation
Congress in Beijing, China. In 1996, ASE corporate
membership grew with the addition of Lockheed Martin
Information Systems and United Space
Planetary Congress of the Association was held in
Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City, Canada, with
forty-eight astronauts and cosmonauts from 14 nations
attending. The theme of the 12th Congress was
Cooperation in Space-Progress for Humanity.
Canadian scholar Nicolas Matescu Matte was awarded the
ASE Planetary Award for his pioneering work in the field
of space law. ASE also participated in the christening of
the Canadian Space Agency as the John H. Chapman Space
Center. Congress sessions included discussions on space
and life sciences, advanced aerospace and space
propulsion technology, updates on US, Russian and
Canadian activities in space, and future cooperation in
building and operating the International Space Station.
ASE and its members engaged in a number of activities
designed to increase public support for human space
exploration. In addition to ongoing astronaut visits to
various scientific and educational institutions, the ASE
continued its participation in the George Washington
University's Space Policy Institute evening roundtables
and the USSF National Space Symposium; assisted with
astronaut participation in the Planetary Society's
Planetfest 97; and became a member of the Space Awareness
Alliance, a consortium of space advocacy organizations
and aerospace companies chartered to actively promote the
benefits of space research and development to life on
Planetary Congress of the Association was held
September 12-19, 1997 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hosted by
astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, the theme of the Congress
was Space Technology for Sustainable
Development, reflecting the association's belief
that space technologies can significantly enhance efforts
to monitor and characterize the impact of human
development on the earth's environment. During the
congress, ASE members participated in working sessions
focused on crew safety, ecology, and space research and
applications and traveled throughout Costa Rica to meet
with children, teachers and community leaders.
In 1998, the Association moved its main office from Washington, DC
to Houston, Texas. ASE activities focused on establishing
a relationship with the Johnson Space Center and
enhancing its role as a professional society of
astronauts and cosmonauts. The international standing
committee on Crew
Safety and Technology Development began work on
producing a set of international design standards for
caution and warning systems and interfaces for future
vehicles as well as a set of advanced crew
safety concepts for long-duration, relatively
autonomous missions such as a crewed mission to Mars. The
committee also prepared preliminary
flight safety guidelines for teams competing for the X Prize. In October,
1998 ASE members participated in the Future Vessel at the
Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by the Globetree Foundation and sponsored in part by the National Environmental Board
of Sweden. ASE members joined scientists, philosophers,
artists and over 2000 children from 100 countries at the
event and presented the space traveler's perspective on
the fragility of our home planet and its environment.
Planetary Congress of the Association was held in
Brussels, Belgium and was hosted by Belgian flier Dirk
Frimout. Eighty-seven fliers from eighteen countries
participated in the week-long event; the theme of the
14th Congress was "Space and Education-A Message to
the Youth" and the fliers actively engaged Belgian
and European students in discussing the importance of
committing to a life-long process of education. Congress
sessions included discussions on crew safety, European
activities in space and a review of 1998 international
In 1999, ASE members reached thousands of students worldwide
through visits to educational institutions, public
lectures and through cooperative arrangements with other
space advocacy organizations. Work also continued on the Planet Earth: The
United Nation, a cooperative endeavor between The
Future Foundation and the Association of Space Explorers.
ASE also entered into an agreement with Starport.com to
provide on-line educational and entertainment resources
for students, parents and teachers.
ASE's International Standing Committee on
Crew Safety and Technology Development continued work
on a set of advanced crew safety concepts for
extended-duration missions and hosted its first technical
interchange meeting at the Johnson Space Center. The
International Standing Committee on
Ecology continued development of its internet-based
Earth Education Exhibit on the ASE web site. ASE members
also represented the Association at the UN UNISPACE III
conference held in Vienna, Austria; a significant result
of this meeting was the approval of ASE-UN cooperation in
implementing the UN Programme on Space Applications.
Twenty-five astronauts and cosmonauts
from eleven countries gathered in Bucharest, Romania,
October 3-10 for the 15th Annual Planetary
Congress of the Association of Space Explorers.
Hosted by Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru Prunariu, the theme
of the 15th Congress was Space and
AstronomyToward the New Millennium." During
the Congress, astronauts and cosmonauts discussed space
science and exploration with students, faculty and
representatives of the Romanian scientific community at
the International Symposium on Microelectronics, at the
Polytechnical University of Bucharest and at Brasov
University. Members also gathered at the World Trade
Center in Bucharest for a live internet discussion with
students in Sweden, organized in cooperation with the Globetree Foundation.
In the year 2000, ASE continued to participate in a variety of activities
and programs that have a direct impact on public
awareness of U.S. and international achievements in
space. ASE members reached thousands of people through
appearances in the United States as well as through
sponsored appearances in Japan, Spain, Sweden, Germany,
France, Russia, and Brazil. ASE members also participated
in the Astronaut
Encounter, a new initiative by the KSC Visitor
Complex to bring astronauts to the Kennedy Space Center
for daily public appearances.
ASE also began discussions with the Challenger Center to
organize an ASE youth affiliate network dedicated to
promoting the exploration and development of space and to
the advancement of the scientific literacy of our youth.
It is anticipated that the program will be launched by
the fall of 2001.
Sixty-three astronauts and cosmonauts
from twelve nations gathered in Spain November 13 through
17, 2000 for the Sixteenth
Planetary Congress of the Association of Space
Explorers. The theme of the Congress was A New
Space for Humanity, reflecting the belief that the
upcoming millennium represents a new era of international
cooperation in the pursuit of a permanent human presence
in space; the XVI Congress was hosted by astronauts Pedro
Duque and Michael Lopez-Alegria.
ASE membership grew by ten percent with the addition of
28 newly flown astronauts and cosmonauts to the member
roster. ASE members continued reaching out to students
and teachers worldwide and the Association embarked on
the development of several new projects in cooperation
with other U.S. and international space advocacy
organizations. With renewed attention to environmental
awareness, the ASE drew up plans and began seeking
funding for an immersive, interactive earth education
exhibit, designed to educate viewers, from the space
traveler's perspective, about the climactic changes and
remediation policies for affected areas over the 40 year
history of human space flight.
Twenty-four astronauts and cosmonauts
from eight nations gathered in Almaty, Kazakhstan
September 26October 2, 2001 for the XVII Planetary
Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. The theme
of the Congress was Gateway to Space Exploration
and Environmental Protection, reflecting the role
of Kazakhstan as the launch site for humanity's first
venture into space as well as its struggle to address
severe environmental problems that plague the region. The
XVII Congress was hosted by Kazakh cosmonaut Tokhtar
for the first time in the 17year history of the
organization the annual Congress was not held, due
primarily to the worldwide economic downturn following
the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Nevertheless, the Association continued its work with
concept development for the Earth Education Exhibit and
initiated a public service announcement campaign designed
to encourage the study of (particularly among female and
minority students) science, mathematics and engineering;
to encourage students to stay in school and to live a
drug-free lifestyle and to promote the direct benefits of
space research and exploration to life on earth.
In 2003, the U.S. Chapter of the ASE (ASE-USA) initiated a
series of quarterly dinner symposia in the Houston area
to facilitate professional development and greater
communication among astronauts, cosmonauts and aerospace
professionals. These events featured briefings by key
personnel in the spaceflight community involved with
issues critical to current and future human exploration.
ASE also opened discussions with the IGNITE Foundation on
possible areas of collaboration in developing classroom
based curricula and other activities designed to inspire
students to careers in aerospace.
Sixty-five astronauts and cosmonauts from
fifteen nations gathered in Tokyo, Japan, October 13
through 17, 2003 for the XVIII Planetary
Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. The
theme of the Congress was Learning From
SpaceEnriching World Culture reflecting the
belief that education, space and exploration transcend
political and cultural boundaries for the benefit of all
humanity; the XVIII Congress was hosted by Japanese
astronaut Mamoru Mohri.
In 2004, ASE – USA worked to increase its effectiveness and outreach in our two primary mission areas of promoting education in science, engineering and mathematics and serving as a professional forum for space fliers.
In the area of education, ASE-USA teamed with the IGNITE Foundation on several programs to facilitate astronaut interaction with K-12 students and parents. Additionally, ASE –USA continues its partnership with the Globetree Foundation in Sweden and participated in Space Day activities here in the U.S.
As a professional forum for astronauts, ASE – USA continued to develop opportunities for interaction among space fliers and policymakers of the various international space programs. ASE–USA hosted the following technical symposia in Houston:
New Opportunities for Exploration
Prospects for Hubble Robotic Repair
Reference Design Requirements for Future Crewed Vehicles
Orbital Space Plane and Future Vehicles
ASE-USA also co-hosted (with the Planetary Society) a workshop on launch vehicle requirements to meet the needs of human space exploration beyond low-earth orbit; and with Lockheed Martin Space Operations, a public lecture at the University of Houston Clear Lake on the Early Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.
Also in 2004 ASE – USA held its First National Congress in conjunction with the bi-annual Astronaut Reunion. The three-day event included briefings by senior NASA program representatives as well as presentations by current and former astronauts on various topics pertinent to the nation's activities in space.
ASE-USA also organized member testimony to the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond.
In 2005, ASE formed the Committee on Near Earth Objects, under the leadership of Rusty Schweickart, and charged it with bringing to the attention of world leaders and key international institutions the threat of asteroid impacts to life on Earth. In an Open Letter of October 14, 2005, the ASE said, in part:
“Due to advances in both the discovery of these objects and in space technology we are aware of the unique fact that these infrequent cosmic collisions are, using advanced space technology, both predictable and preventable. This distinctive and providential characteristic of NEO impacts allows the prevention of these largest of natural disasters, if, and only if, national governments and relevant international institutions understand these inevitable events and act together to prevent their occurrence.”
To facilitate this process the ASE, through its Committee on NEOs, proposed to convene a series of four workshops, calling on experts from around the world with relevant experience, to address this challenge in detail and to prepare, for submission to the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), a draft NEO deflection protocol for its consideration.
ASE–USA also continued its dinner symposium series, hosting ISS Program Manager Bill Gerstenmeier for dinner and discussion with ASE members on the topic “ISS – What is it good for, Anyway?”.
Fifty-six astronauts and cosmonauts from 10 nations gathered October 9 – 15 in Salt Lake City, Utah for the XIX Planetary Congress. Hosted by former U.S. Senator Jake Garn, the week-long Congress featured technical sessions on the current activities and future plans for the U.S., international and commercial human spaceflight programs, excursions to areas of cultural and social interest and astronaut/cosmonaut visits to 39 of the 40 school districts in Utah. The theme of the Congress was “Our Destiny in Space, Worlds Without Borders”, reflecting the conviction of the ASE membership that collaboration is a necessary condition of future exploration beyond earth orbit. The XIX Congress was title sponsored by ATK Thiokol.
At the XIX Congress, ASE celebrated the 20th anniversary of the founding of the organization.
In 2006, ASE participated in a growing number of events, both in the US and internationally.
In the US, ASE–USA and its members participated in the first International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight, hosting two public sessions on Medical Considerations for Suborbital and Orbital Flight, and Maximizing the Personal Spaceflight Experience. ASE–USA technical symposia included a dinner briefing and discussion with JSC Center Director Mike Coats on the status of the ISS, Shuttle and CEV programs.
ASE–USA conducted its 2nd National Congress in coordination with the biennial JSC Astronaut Reunion. Technical topics included Applied Nanotechnology for Human Space Exploration, Crew Survivability and Medical Issues, Constellation Space Suit Systems and Transition to Orion: the Flight Director’s Perspective. An evening lecture, in co-operation with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and Planetary Society, was delivered by ASE member Tom Jones on Astronauts, Robots, and 21st Century Space Exploration.
ASE also responded with several suggested modifications to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Proposed Rule for Human Spaceflight Requirements for Crew and Spaceflight Participants.
ASE maintained its international presence, supporting the Globetree Foundation’s
World Championships in Cooperation and opening discussions for ASE participation at the annual Festival of Science and Enterprise in Glasgow, Scotland, as well as for ASE support of the biannual Scottish Space School program in Houston, TX.
The Committee on NEOs delivered a technical presentation and intervention to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of COPUOS, providing a general review of current developments in NEO early warning and the technical capability for NEO deflection. The NEO Committee also began planning the composition of the Committee’s Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation and the sequence of four workshops, to take place over the next two years.
In 2007, work began in earnest on the ASE NEO deflection protocol. At a Gala Fundraiser hosted by the Chabot Science Center in Oakland, CA, the NEO Committee raised nearly $150,000 for the NEO effort. The Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation was formed and its participants included ASE members, former UN diplomats, ambassadors, international law experts, national space program leaders, risk management specialists and re-insurance executives.
The NEO Committee delivered a status report to the COPUOS in February, a paper describing the international policy issues to the AIAA Planetary Defense Conference in March, and convened its first two workshops at the ISU in Strasbourg, France and in Sibiu, Romania.
ASE – USA hosted one technical dinner symposium in 2007 “New Constellation on the Horizon” with Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley, and hosted the session “A Day in the Life of an Astronaut on Mars” at the Risk & Exploration Symposium II at Louisiana State University.
ASE educational activities included hundreds of school visits world-wide and participation in the two-week long Festival of Science and Enterprise in Glasgow, Scotland.
In another major environmental and educational initiative, ASE–USA partnered with the Technical Education and Research Centers (TERC) to develop an earth education exhibit. Leveraging an existing software capability developed by TERC under a grant from the National Science Foundation, ASE and TERC began work on astronaut-related educational content for Windows on Earth. The partnership also resulted in the conception, development and deployment of Windows on Earth: Flight, a revolutionary new, 3D earth-visualization tool designed to better facilitate astronaut earth observations training and photography from the International Space Station.
Seventy-three astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 nations gathered September 17-21, 2007 in Edinburgh, Scotland for the XX Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. Hosted by Careers Scotland, the week-long Congress featured technical sessions on the current activities and future plans for the U.S., international and commercial human spaceflight programs, excursions to areas of cultural and social interest and astronaut/cosmonaut visits to over 45 school districts all over Scotland. The theme of the Twentieth Congress was “50 Years in Space – Launching into the Future”, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first artificial satellite into space.
At the Congress, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was elected as the first non Russian/non US president of the international Association of Space Explorers.
In 2008, the ASE Committee on NEOs continued its efforts to develop an NEO deflection protocol. Committee members delivered status briefings to the United Nations, presented “The Asteroid Threat: Decisions Upcoming” to the 37th Session of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), presented its Decision Program on Asteroid Threat Mitigation to the International Astronautical Congress, and completed its final two workshops in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and San Francisco, California.
The NEO Committee’s final report, “Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response” was completed following the final workshop and will be presented to the United Nations in 2009.
ASE–USA continued, in partnership with TERC, to develop the Windows on Earth project. Windows on Earth: Flight was flight qualified and flown to the International Space Station on board Soyuz TMA-13 with ASE member Richard Garriott.
Forty-seven astronauts and cosmonauts representing fifteen nations gathered September 15-19, 2008 in Seattle, Washington for the XXI Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. The theme of the XXI Congress was “Exploring Space – Inspiring Planetary Stewardship”, reflecting the Association’s belief that humanity’s continued expansion into space will ultimately result in greater awareness of, and care for, our home planet. The Congress was hosted by Seattle Museum of Flight president and former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar and underwritten by Title Sponsor Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
Also in 2008, Sweden, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea were welcomed as new member countries of the Association.
In 2009, after three years of preparation and four international workshops, the NEO Committee formally submitted their report and recommendations: Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response. The report was introduced in the 2009 session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN/COPUOS) in Vienna, Austria.
Forty-nine astronauts and cosmonauts from 14 nations gathered October 4-10, 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic for the XXII Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE). The theme of the XXII Congress was “Space – Opportunities for All”, reflecting the Association’s belief that emerging international spaceflight capabilities and technologies all play an important role in contributing to the growing human presence in space. The XXII Planetary Congress was hosted by Czech cosmonaut Vladimir Remek.
Also in 2009, Brazil and China were welcomed as new member countries of the Association.
Fifty-eight astronauts and cosmonauts from 18 nations gathered October 5-10, 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the XXIII Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE). The theme of the XXIII Congress was “1 Planet, 1 Hope, 1 Future”, reflecting the Association’s belief that all nations and people play an important role in the protection and preservation of our home planet. The XXIII Planetary Congress was hosted by Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar.
Acting on its report, “Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response,” the NEO Committee co-sponsored a series of multi-space agency implementation workshops for each of the report’s functional elements: information and warning, mission planning and operations, and authorization and oversight. A Mexico City meeting in January 2010, focused on the role of the NEO Information, Analysis, and Warning network (IAWN). ASE, ESA, and NASA again brought together representatives from the space-faring nations in October 2010 in Darmstadt, Germany, examining the establishment of the Mission Planning and Operations group (MPOG). Here, the space-faring nations discussed technology and planning considerations for a future NEO deflection.
In 2011, the ASE NEO Committee continued to co-sponsor implementation meetings, and actively supports regular NEO negotiations at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
Seventy-three astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts from 19 countries convened in Moscow, Russia, 5–9 September 2011 for the XXIV Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. Hosted by ASE-Russia, the theme of the XXIV Congress was “He Invited us all to Space”, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the flight of Yuri Gagarin.