NASA History Office, in cooperation with the National Air and Space Museum
of the Smithsonian Institution, the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, is pleased to announce the program and to invite registration for a symposium, "Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite." This symposium will be held at the S. Dillon Ripley Center Auditorium, Smithsonian Institution, on September 30-October 1, 1997. The brochure for this symposium is now available on the World Wide Web at URL:
We will also be mailing copies of this brochure within a week to those on our mailing list. As the agenda changes, and we all know it will change if only a little, we will add more details and updates to the Web site. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the NASA History Office.
Roger D. Launius, Ph.D NASA Chief Historian NASA History Office Code ZH Washington, DC, 20546 Voice 202-358-0383 Fax 202-358-2866 http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/history.html
Caption: Sergei Khrushchev makes a point about a paper presented at the AAASS conference in Boston in November 1996.
Society for the History of Technology - 1995
The World Space Congress was the first joint meeting of the annual IAF (International Astronautical Federation) and COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) meetings in Washington D.C. from August 28 to September 5, 1992. The WSC was big, unbelievably BIG, because there were many groups holding meetings including an International Space Exhibition trade show, the Association of Space Explorers symposium, the Planetary Society's Rover Expo, Space Agency Forum on the ISY, Symposium on Life Sciences, Symposium on Space Technology in Developing Countries, Symposium on SETI, and other private international scientific working group meetings.
The WSC was held in the Washington convention center, and two adjacent hotels. After arrival at the convention center, and check in, everyone was given a packet of invitations and other goodies in a nice nylon carrying case. The case came filled with a 700 page book of Abstracts, a 200 page guide to sessions, a metal paper weight made of a meteorite, material flown on a Space Shuttle and a Soyuz TM flight, a 100 page list of conference attendees who pre-registered, and other odds and ends. Dozens of nations were represented at the conference and several thousand people attended, so it was not at all uncommon to wind up setting next to a Russian or European.
The biggest problem was deciding which of the up to 25 parallel sessions being held each morning and afternoon to attend. This was made more difficult since they were spread out over 2 hotels and the convention center, and IAF meetings were not as precisely scheduled as the COSPAR sponsored events. This, combined with last minute changes in speaker order and cancelled presentations, made attending any specific presentation almost a roll of the dice.
IAF sponsored sessions included Space Station Operations, International Programs, History, Advanced Propulsion, Personal Communications, Lunar and Mars Exploration, Launch and Reentry Systems, Earth Observation, Space Structures, etc... (this is a brief overview of the first few days)
COSPAR sessions were more research oriented and included topics like the Venus and Mars Atmospheres and Lithospheres, small bodies in the solar system, many different types of astronomy, the Origins of Life, Scientific Ballooning, the Solar Corona, Space Plasmas, Closed Loop Life Support Systems, Plant Growth, Life on Mars, Material Sciences, Global Change, Solar Wind and Radiation, Space Debris, etc...
On the second day the industry trade show opened on the convention center upper level. Over 100 companies set up elaborate mockups and models including from Canada's shuttle manipulator arm, to Boeing's SS Freedom Laboratory module, and various satellites. The NASA and ESA booths were the largest, and NASA's was showing a continous flashy media presentation promoting Mars and other SEI missions using several dozen arrayed television sets. The Japanese and Chinese and the big US corporations were well represented also. One could try out a virtual reality EVA around the Columbus space station module and Hermes shuttle, or watch an engineer suiting up in a shuttle EVA suit or try it for yourself, check out samples of nuclear particle bed reactor material, watch a seemingly endless number of videos from French cosmonaut training to the latest in advanced test facilities from Sandia National Labs, or just go around a collect free booklets, posters, pens, and other propaganda.
When not in a lecture, participants spent time shopping at the AIAA's temporary book shop, and looked through about a thousand stacks of the IAF papers being presented at the conference that were for sale, reading the dozens of posted papers which couldn't get scheduled for presentation, talking to each other in the hallways, reading special newsletters printed just for the WSC or some of the dozens of free samples of magazines and news letters, looking at the nice JPL exhibit displaying 3-D Magellan maps and films of Venus, or going on trips to the Intelsat control center, Goddard space center, National Institute of Health, and other locations.
The Russians were represented in force at the WSC including the head of the newly formed Russian Space Agency, the director of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, former director of the Korolev Design Bureau and head of the
1960's manned lunar landing project-Vasili Mishin, the director of the Energia NPO-Yuri Semenov, a hand full of former cosmonauts, and dozens of scientists and engineers presenting everything from rocket engine injector designs to planetary exploration philosophy. The fact that Yuri Semenov missed some of his presentations is testament to the fact that he was too busy wheeling and dealing
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