Vice-Premier Ma Kai addresses the opening of the 27th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 10, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
A total of 93 astronauts from 18 countries gathered in Beijing on Sept 10 for the 27th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE).
Sponsored by China’s Manned Space Agency, the meeting bears the theme “Cooperation: realizing humanity’s space dream together.” Participants will share their experience from previous manned space missions and talk about the future of space programs.
The event has attracted some of the top figures in space exploration history, including Alexey Leonov, the first person to walk in space, Valentina Tereshkova, the first female astronaut, and Buzz Aldrin, the second person to land on the moon.
Astronauts will also visit schools, communities and enterprises, meeting with students, researchers and ordinary Chinese people in the cities of Beijing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Xiamen.
The six-day event is the annual meeting of the ASE, an international nonprofit professional and educational organization with 395 members, all of whom have actual experience in space.
“By choosing this topic in a world full of confrontations, the association intends to contribute to a better human understanding, peaceful cooperation, flight into space, and the peaceful use of space,” said Dumitru Prunariu, president of ASE and a former Romanian astronaut, at the opening ceremony.
Through the scientific spirit and an attitude of peace, innovation and cooperation, China is seeking development in satellite technology, deep space exploration, manned space programs and other technologies, said Vice-Premier Ma Kai.
Ma added that China is now developing its manned space station, and the Chinese government is willing to safeguard a peaceful and clean outer space together with the international community.