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When on Saturday the final ceremony for the 21st Astronautical Congress will start at noon, once again international cooperation in space will be sworn in this metropolis on Lake Constance. No doubt, scientists from all over the world were ready for every cooperation. Excessively sounding appeals, however, were not heared from the persons truly adressed. The governments in the end will have to decide if "the highest amount of information" will be exchanged, as was demanded by state secretary (3) Dohnanyi. Although Soviet cosmonaut Dr. Boris Yegorov and US-astronaut James McDivitt were drinking brotherhood, some differences remained visible. Much too unadvised words of praise by Mr Dohnanyi "for the openness of the American space efforts" have contributed to this fact.
Cooperative spirit was not enough to bring Soviet and American space men to the table together. The differences between those gigantic nations performing space-flights was not only the fact that one nation stayed at the "Lake of Constance" (4) and the other one at "Bodenskoje Osero"(5). The question of a journalist to the responsible persons of the International Astronauts’ Federation (IAF) if a real cooperation was finally achieved thus must remain unanswered. There were more optimistic prognistics instead. The president of the German Society for Air- and Space Travel (DGLR), professorReimar Lüst, hopes that there will soon be a close cooperation between the USSR and the European Space Research Organization (ESRO) (6). His demand was, in any case: "Each gap of information must be closed".
The excellent speeches of the 21st Astronautical Congress are over, aside from the discussion about the latest Soviet space project "Luna 16" (7). The Soviets are about to give further information about this automatic probe which recently returned from the moon with soil samples on board. The crew of Apollo 13, Lovell, Swigert and Haise, reported about their ill-fated flight in a show-like press conference with a movie. Astronaut McDivitt also explained the technical side (of the flight) as well as the improvements made for the Apollo program. The three Soviet cosmonauts, General Nikolayev (husband of the first woman in space (8)), Dr. Sevastianov and Dr. Yegorov, answered questions from the press. Spectacular result: the USSR is not planning a (manned) lunar landing at the moment.
However, they talked about a landing on Mars, but the date couldn’t even be vaguely named. The Soviets want to go to Mars together with female astronauts. As Nikolayev says: If you’re on the way for 3 years there would be a big mess (in the spacecraft). Nikolayev and Sewastianov again reported thoroughly before the congress about the record flight of Soyuz 9 – almost 18 days duration. Besides the observations of Earth and Space, above all the medical component (of the flight research program) was interesting. It can be guessed from Nikolayev’s words that the Russians at the moment cannot stay in space longer than one month without taking physical damage.
The organization of the Astronautical Congress in Constance war criticized not only by some journalists, participants and the four-headed delegation from the German Democratic Republic (DDR). In fact, there were some rather embarrassing breakdowns sometimes. For the Soviet 35-mm-film no projector could be found – the film had to be cancelled. Local enterprises (Dornier in Friedrichshafen (9) and AEG-Telefunken in Constance (19) could not be visited as the Federal Government gave no recommendation to open the gates (of these enterprises) closed by security personnel. Only people who could understand the American slang were able to get news from the Apollo-13-astronauts; the interpreters – there are 24 at the daily price of 320 DM (11) (…) – were having dinner.
But obviouly the presons responsible of the IAF had known before that the city of Constance cannot be compared to congress cities like Berlin. Hence, the metropilis on the Lake of Constance compensated for a lot with bright autumn sunshine and the beauty of the landscape. The visitors from the Soviet Union were inspired and there was an unforgettable surprise for cosmonaut Dr. Vitaly I. Sevastianov when he learned – (while on a sightseeing tour) on the island of Mainau (12) – that not only he but also his host, Count Lennart Bernadotte, does have a Russian mother.
A TRIP INTO THE PAST was done by the three astronauts of Apollo 13 (from the left) John Swigert, James Lovell and Fred Haise on board the "Spanisch-Broetli-Bahn" in the Swiss Traffic Museum in Luzern (13). Mrs Lovell (left) and Mrs Haise were watching laughing.
(1) A word game in the headline. Constance (2) was the host city of a papal council in the years 1414-1418 AD.
(2) Konstanz (Constance): university town at the western end of Lake Constance, bordering Switzerland.
(3) State secretary: position in the German Government; a civil servant second only to the minister in a state or federal ministry ( Wikipedia-explanation).
(4) Lake of Constance (in German: Bodensee): large lake in southern Germany, bordering Austria and Switzerland..
(5) Russian word for “Lake of Constance”.
(6) ESRO: former name of the European Space agency (ESA).
(7) Luna 16: Soviet moon craft. Landed on the Moon in September 1970 and returned to Earth with automatically collected soil samples.
(8) Valentina Tereshkova – first woman in space.
(9) Dornier: Aircraft enterprise (famous for its sea-planes in the 1930s)
(10) AEG-Telefunken: no longer existing electronics enterprise.
(11) DM: Deutsche Mark; German currency until 2002.
(12) Mainau: island in Lake Constance belonging to the Lennart Bernadotte Foundation. One of the main tourist attractions in that region (Wikipedia has more).
(13) Luzern (Lucerne): important city in central Switzerland (Wikipedia has more; some nice pictures, too).
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