Aeronautics and Space Report of the President FY 1995 Activities

International Aeronautical and Space Activities

Cooperation With Foreign Partners

DoS and NASA continued negotiations on the formal agreements relative to the International Space Station program. During FY 1995, DoS held five rounds of negotiations between the existing partners and Russia on the Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement. In parallel, NASA continued negotiations with the Russian Space Agency (RSA) on a bilateral memorandum of understanding, as well as with the European, Japanese, and Canadian space agencies on amendments to their respective Space Station memoranda of understanding to reflect Russian involvement in the program and modifications to respective contributions by the partners. The plan for shared design, development, operations, and utilization of the International Space Station already has provided concrete opportunities for successful international collaboration among the various governments, industries, universities, and individual scientists. The ongoing interaction with Russia on the Shuttle-Mir and International Space Station programs has contributed positively to the U.S. policy of encouraging Russia to continue on its course to democratization and a market economy.

The most visible symbol of U.S.-Russian scientific and technological cooperation was the first rendezvous and docking of the Space Shuttle Atlantis with Mir, which occurred on June 29, 1995. This coincided with the fifth meeting of the U.S.-Russia Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, known more widely as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission after its leaders, U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Another highlight at the fifth meeting of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission was the new cooperation involving seven Russian aeronautics institutes and four NASA aeronautics research centers. During FY 1995, NASA signed five grants with Russian aeronautics institutes for a wide range of research, such as advanced aviation metals, atmospheric effects of aviation, and composite structure research. Joint aeronautics projects included modifying the Russian Tu-144 supersonic transport plane with new engines to flight-test new technologies for the next-generation supersonic civil transport and cooperative work on scramjet propulsion technology, a critical element in the development of hypersonic aerospace vehicles.

Under the auspices of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, NASA, the Russian Ministry of Science and Technology Policy (MinSci), and the Russian Space Agency (RSA) signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Relating to the Space Biomedical Center for Training and Research. The Center, to be based at Moscow State University, will support a range of U.S.-Russian medical exchanges, including cross-training and research in aerospace medicine, space biology, internal medicine, public health issues, biotechnology, microgravity sciences, informatics, and telemedicine.

In April, 1995, the "Integrated Plan for Science and Research," the first major deliverable to NASA under the Space Station contract with RSA, was submitted to NASA by the Russian Scientific and Technical Advisory Council (STAC). RSA established STAC to provide peer review of Russian research and technology proposals related to the International Space Station. Fifty Russian organizations submitted more than 250 research proposals, and more than 100 were selected during the first round of peer review, leading to the approval in June 1995 of $3.5 million to support the selected researchers.

In July 1995, the agreement between the United States and Japan concerning the cross-waiver of liability for cooperation in the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes entered into force. This agreement is to facilitate further space cooperation between the two countries, which is already well established in the areas of human spaceflight, space science, and Mission to Planet Earth. An MOU between NASA and NASDA went into effect in October 1994, providing for the flight of two NASA sensors onboard the Japanese Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS).

President Clinton and Ukrainian President Kuchma signed the Agreement Between the United States of America and Ukraine on Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes in November 1994. This Agreement identified NASA and the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU) as the implementing agencies and stated that the United States and Ukraine shall carry out civil space cooperation in such fields as space communications, life and microgravity sciences and applications, and Earth studies.

In November 1994, NASA and the Paton Welding Institute in Kiev, Ukraine, initiated a joint project called the International Space Welding Experiment. This project involves the flight demonstration of the Ukrainian Universal Hand Tool (UHT), an electron beam-welding tool developed by Paton, to assess the capability of the UHT to perform new emergency repairs on the International Space Station. In addition to cooperation with traditional spacefaring partners, cooperation with developing countries, especially in Latin America, was significantly expanding. In the fall of 1994, NASA conducted a series of sounding rocket launches, known as the Guara campaign, from Brazil's Alcantra launch range in coordination with Brazil's National Space Research Institute.

NOAA continued its support for the international satellite-aided search-and-rescue program known as Cospas-Sarsat (from a Russian acronym meaning Space System for the Search of Vessels in Distress and an English one for Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking). To date, more than 30 countries and organizations are associated formally with Cospas-Sarsat. Since its inception in 1982, Cospas-Sarsat has helped in the rescue of more than 4,600 people. The Cospas-Sarsat space segment (provided by the United States, Russia, France, and Canada) detects distress signals from maritime, aviation, and land-based users and relays them to the appropriate rescue coordination authorities. Cospas-Sarsat is currently supported by six U.S. and Russian polar-orbiting satellites, which provide global coverage, and an international network of ground stations, including six in the United States and its territories. The U.S. Mission Control Center for Cospas-Sarsat is located in NOAA's Suitland, MD, facility.

In September 1995, an intergovernmental Sarsat memorandum of agreement was signed in Washington by the United States, France, and Canada. The new agreement commits its signatory governments to long-term support of satellite-aided search and rescue. It establishes the means by which the Sarsat parties will manage their space segment obligations under the International Cospas-Sarsat Program Agreement, which was signed in 1988 by Russia, the United States, France, and Canada. The 1988 and 1995 agreements are to remain in force through 2003, with automatic 5-year extensions.

NOAA also used search-and-rescue equipment on its GOES-7, GOES-8, and GOES-9 satellites to relay alert data over most of the Western Hemisphere. NOAA and its foreign partners began evaluating the operational use of geostationary satellites and related ground stations to augment Cospas-Sarsat's polar orbiting-system.

DoC's Office of Aerospace pressed for expanded export opportunities for U.S. aircraft manufacturers through negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Office of Aerospace has been actively encouraging as many countries as possible to sign the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft (Aircraft Agreement) before becoming members of WTO. Negotiations are continuing with key and emerging aerospace manufacturing countries, such as Russia, China, South Korea, and Poland, to sign and implement the provisions of the Aircraft Agreement and the provisions of WTO, especially the Subsidies Code. The Aircraft Agreement eliminates duties on aircraft and most aerospace engines and parts. The Office of Aerospace also participated in U.S. Government efforts to reduce Russian tariffs on imported aircraft and components. This activity caused Russia to lower its tariff from 50 to 30 percent and provide verbal assurances of providing tariff waivers, on a case-by-case basis, for leased U.S. aircraft for the next 7 years.

DoT's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (OCST) provided representation and indepth analytical and policy support to negotiations led by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to establish a commercial space launch trade agreement between the United States and Ukraine. This included participation in two rounds of negotiations held in Kiev and Washington, D.C. DoC's Office of Air and Space Commercialization and its Office of Aerospace also supported these efforts.

The first space launch trade agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China expired in December 1994. In support of USTR-led trade negotiations for a new agreement, OCST provided expertise in commercial space launch technology and industry concerns. Negotiations were completed in January, and the agreement was signed into force on March 3, 1995. OCST continued to serve as Chair of the Working Groups on Information responsible for monitoring foreign compliance under both the U.S./Russia and U.S./China launch trade agreements. DoC's Office of Air and Space Commercializa-tion and the Office of Aerospace assisted with commercial space launch agreements with Russia and China.

Under the U.S.-Russia Business Development Committee/Aerospace Subgroup, the Office of Aerospace organized a trade visit of Russian aeronautics officials to the United States in November 1994. The event was cosponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the FAA, NASA, and the Foreign Trade Association of Southern California. Activities included a press conference highlighting the Russian passenger aircraft IL-96M/T, equipped with U.S. engines and avionics, and a conference titled "Emerging Aerospace Cooperative Opportunities between the U.S. and Russia."

DoC's Office of Aerospace also provided export counseling and trade development support, often in cooperation with other Federal agencies, to support and promote the interests of U.S. air traffic control and airport equipment and service suppliers overseas. In March 1995, the Office of Aerospace co-sponsored with the FAA and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency a symposium on future aviation infrastructure and technology developments in the Asia-Pacific region. The Office of Aerospace continues to provide input and policy guidance on air traffic control technology developments, including the GPS.

During FY 1995, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) scientists and Russian astronomers worked to set up the U.S. Data Center for the Spectrum-X-Gamma mission, an international collaborative space x-ray observatory led by the Institute for Space Research in Moscow. SAO will collect and archive data from the mission and make the information available worldwide through the Internet. Computers that will give Russian scientists easy access to these data were shipped from SAO to the institute in June 1995. The Spectrum-X-Gamma mission will conduct multiple experiments in a broad wavelength range from ultraviolet through x-rays to gamma rays.

Nearly 200 scientists and engineers from approximately 16 countries attended the Fourth International Conference on Tethers in Space at the Smithsonian Institution in April 1995. Experts from SAO, NASA, the Italian Space Agency, and industry discussed the results of several successful missions using tethered-satellite systems, as well as experiments planned for the future.

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Curator: Lillian Gipson
Last Updated: September 5, 1996
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