The keyword of the day was unmistakably ‘COOPERATION’.
In brief speeches by representatives of the institutions that shape the Space dream of countries from around the world, no one failed to mention the ‘C’ word, with the idea of working together to achieve real progress being paramount, for the four issues under discussion: Human Space Flight, Planetary Robotic Exploration, Climate Change and Disaster Management.The Working Groups of these four areas, made up of members of the Academy of Astronautics, presented their report formulated over the last year, which summarizes the achievements attained in each sector and outlines plans for the coming decades. My particular professional area of interest, Human Space Flight, has a plan that is divided into three major phases:
Between 2010 and 2025, activities will focus on the utilization of the International Space Station by astronauts from various nations, as well as the installation of one or more low earth orbit laboratories (LEO - Low Earth Orbit). The period from 2020 to 2035 will be devoted to consolidation of LEO laboratories and robotic missions to different celestial bodies such as Mars and the Moon, in an attempt to provide the necessary support for future human missions, which will occur between 2030 and 2050.
By the time the meeting ended it was early evening. Although cold, the Washington day had been beautiful, with blue skies and no clouds. As always, the fall in the northern hemisphere has a special charm, as the leaves on the trees transform into an amazing display of brown, gold and reddish-yellow, resembling the hue of copper. I left there on that beautiful autumn day with the certainty that the world was united to surmount barriers and overcome scarcity of diverse resources, in favor of a higher value: life on Earth and beyond.