International Cooperation

.There are so many things happening today. We have new players coming on-line. Wouldn’t it be something if we could offer the Chinese a place on the International Space Station? I do not believe it is time to retire the Shuttle. There are many uses to which it can be put – symbolic uses. Imagine ‘space flights for peace.’ Imagine if we could send an Arab and an Israeli into space together, or a Pakistani and an Indian. Space has a strong symbolic power for mankind..

Buzz Aldrin – CSIS “Human Space Exploration Initiative” Conference, Brussels, February 16, 2005.

Buzz is a global space ambassador. He cheers on cosmonauts from Russia, taikonauts from China and astronauts from a myriad of other countries, meets with foreign government space agencies like JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and ESA (European Space Agency), and speaks at numerous conferences encouraging the global community towards new and permanent human exploration and settlement of space.

When Buzz was an astronaut at NASA in the 1960’s, competition was the driving force between the United States and the Soviet Union in the race to land a man on the moon. On July 20, 1969, Neil and Buzz planted the American flag on the lunar surface to win that race, yet they “came in peace for all mankind.” And for one moment, the world came together in awe and celebration as nearly 600 billion people (about ¾ of the world’s population) witnessed the landing on their TVs and radios. Goodwill messages from 73 countries were left behind on a silicon disk by the Apollo 11 crew. By 1975, three years after the last Apollo mission to the moon, the US launched its last remaining unused Apollo space capsule with its crew into Earth orbit to dock with the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft for a “space handshake” known as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. This mission signified a new spirit of international cooperation.

Next came an era of permanence in low Earth orbit, and the undertaking of the world’s largest and most complex international cooperative scientific effort – the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). Led by the United States, the ISS relies on resources from a total of 16 nations: US, Canada, Japan, Russia, 11 member nations of the European Space Agency and Brazil. At a budget of $100 billion the station is nearing completion, and has been in operation since 2000 with astronauts, cosmonauts, payload specialists, scientists and even a handful of paying space tourists visiting the ISS to live and work in space.

Now a global space race is on as a host of nations are making space exploration a priority and matter of worldwide prestige. Who will be the first nation to break out of Earth orbit on missions to the moon, to asteroids, and ultimately Mars? The US, China and Russia have set target dates to send their astronaut explorers to the moon. Japan and India have joined the race and have launched robotic missions to the moon in preparation for human missions. Russia and China are working together on robotic missions to the moons of Mars to bring soil samples back to Earth. In this new space age, Buzz welcomes and encourages opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among nations as we venture forward to become an inter-planetary space-faring people.

.Back in those days of Apollo, we were very pioneering. And in the pioneering age you move ahead very rapidly. We had competition in the world, and I think that spurred on the competition and spurred on the support for it. Things are a little different today. We’re emphasizing cooperation in the world.

And I think we need to have more evolutionary approaches. Much as I would like to see a growing permanence toward Mars, I think we have to start out by going back to the moon first, the asteroids and the moons of Mars in a very gradual evolutionary process, one that we can afford and one we can go as we’re able to pay for it..

Buzz Aldrin – CNN – Apollo 11 Anniversary, July 21, 2004

.NASA might even look at a new competitor as a possible partner. The modernized, Soyuz-like manned capsule that China sent into orbit in October [the Shenzhou] is potentially safer and seems technologically more robust than the Russian version. Working jointly with China would not only fill a needed gap when America’s agreement with Russia on using Soyuz runs out in 2006, but it would also make a potentially important political alliance. China and America are on the verge of a new space race — with economic competition expected from Japan, Europe and perhaps India — and it is better to start off with cooperation than with confrontation..

Buzz Aldrin – New York Times, December 5, 2003

.I want to visit China to inquire about their Shenzhou rocket. I think I could try to build consensus around our country encouraging the use of Shenzhou as a possible lifeboat. If a lifeboat is built in China, it would compete with Russia’s Soyuz, which will then drive the Russians to lower their cost and not put so much of it on their international partners. The Russians will be encouraged to put their money into Kliper [for “clipper ship”], which is a six-person vehicle, and a much better design. And then, if that design also can be useful to international exploration efforts, we can have a commonality of components in some parts of the design for a crew-carrying, passenger-carrying spacecraft. We’d have an assured human access to space, which is something that’s needed..

Buzz Aldrin – Astronomy, May 2005

Buzz Aldrin conceived of “Space Flights for Peace” in drawing from his experiences and missions in space. The idea is to build strategically diverse teams for missions in space. Crews would be composed of people from nations slightly friendly, hostile or even at war with each other on earth. Since Space is a new frontier, without territories, boundaries, national sovereignties or ownership, it is the ideal staging point to demonstrate that people of all cultural beliefs and religious backgrounds are able to set aside differences and work harmoniously for common goals for the greater good. The space environment would give humankind an opportunity to establish new precedents and create defining moments in the struggle for worldwide peace. The selected space crew and travelers would be fully trained active participants of the highly publicized missions.

Buzz’s vision to promote peace between nations via the symbolic missions of Space Flights for Peace is briefly documented in the book, “Beyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Space” (Edited by Bob Krone, Apogee Space Books, 2006).

.When I look at the year 2030 I think there are going to be people alive that are going to cherish the moment and the sense of value that they experienced in their lives by seeing a nation step up and make a commitment shortly after the turn of the century to establish a foot-hold on Mars and see that grow.

In 2030 they’re going to say, this started out with five people, seven, and it’s now grown. We have 25 people thriving on the surface of Mars. And this is being supported internationally. Think of all the things that will come from the nations of the world dedicating themselves to the survival and the improvement of that small growing community. If the asteroid comes and blows us all up, that may be the future of humanity. Sooner or later a responsible society needs to guarantee their own survival. And survival, I think, takes an advanced, stimulating spirit of humanity. And that’s what the space program is all about..

Buzz Aldrin – New York Times, December 5, 2003