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Opinions & Interviews

4 Sep 2018

Planetary congress to open new opportunities for Belarus to participate in international projects

Planetary congress to open new opportunities for Belarus to participate in international projects

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) – The hosting of the 31st planetary congress of the Association of Space Explorers in Minsk will open new opportunities for Belarus to participate in international projects, BelTA learned from Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Sergei Kilin on 4 September.

Sergei Kilin said: “We hope that the participation of a large number of cosmonauts, representatives of European space agencies, and NASA in the congress will allow us to more thoroughly get involved in the international space effort. We have all the reasons for it in the form of the scientific accomplishments, which are being actively used. Certainly, Belarusian organizations desire to participate in new international space projects. They are being implemented in a number of spheres now. First, using the outer space for ground purposes, in other words, the remote sensing of Earth for the sake of agriculture, all kinds of registries, the forecasting of natural cataclysms, and other purposes. Second, going into the deep space. There are two major projects now – the return to the Moon and using the moon as a springboard for exploring the deep space and flights to Mars. A great deal of most complicated technical problems needs to be resolved, primarily the effect of radiation and the lack of gravity during a lengthy stay in outer space on humans. During the congress we will welcome Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko, who have intentionally stayed in orbit for a year, studying capabilities of the human body.”

A number of experiments are taking place in Russia to model lengthy isolation on board of a spacecraft. “The Belarusian side has been invited to participate in the project dubbed SIRIUS. The project is being implemented by the Medical and Biological Problems Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is a joint project with NASA. There are two ways to participate in the project: the development and provision of one’s own scientific experiments for implementation or the participation of a specific person in this program and these experiments. Roscosmos has also voiced a number of other proposals to expand our joint work,” said Sergei Kilin.

Belarus’ initiative to hold the ASE Planetary Congress in Minsk in 2018 was approved by the session of the executive committee of the Association of Space Explorers in Toulouse, France in 2017. “Criteria for choosing the country to host a congress are quite unambiguous. The country has to be prominent and noticeable in the international community due to its own space efforts. The country has to have secured real accomplishments in this sphere and there have to be space flight participants from this country,” said Sergei Kilin. “Belarus can be described as significant in the space sphere in the three components. First, not so many countries have participated in the implementation of the space program from the very start. Second, the natives of Belarus – Piotr Klimuk, Vladimir Kovalyonok, and Oleg Novitsky – are cosmonauts, people the entire world knows and listens to. Third, we have spacecraft, a space industry, enterprises and scientists capable of creating new space technology.”

The 31st planetary congress of the Association of Space Explorers will be held in Minsk on 9-15 September. About 90 cosmonauts from 17 countries will take part in it. The opening ceremony will take place in the expo center BelExpo on Monday, 10 September. Cosmonauts and astronauts are expected to meet with Belarusian school and university students on Wednesday, 12 September. Technical sessions are scheduled to take place to review the international space program, discuss results of flights to the International Space Station (ISS) and space science. Apart from that, a parkway of cosmonauts will be opened in the botanical garden. A monument to Belarusian space flight participants will be unveiled in Kosmonavtov Street. Sightseeing tours to places of interest in Belarus will be arranged.

The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an international not-for-profit organization that unites cosmonauts and astronauts from many countries. It was established in 1985 to share the best practices in the area of manned space flights. Every year the ASE planetary congress gathers cosmonauts and representatives of research institutions and national space agencies.

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