23 September 1997
(Text: White House Release) (750) (The following statement was released September 23, 1997 by the White House Office of the Vice President following the ninth meeting of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation, also known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission) U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation GORE-CHERNOMYRDIN COMMISSION Space Committee Vice President Al Gore and the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Viktor Chernomyrdin welcome the continued progress taking place in joint U.S.-Russian efforts to expand space cooperation. In particular, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation note the joint activities related to Shuttle-Mir program cooperation and the development and implementation of the International Space Station (ISS). They reaffirm the commitment of both sides to continue strong support for the ISS program and acknowledge the significant progress that has been made to date in Russia and the U.S. in the development of flight hardware leading to a planned first element launch in June 1998. The Vice President of the United States and the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation also note that the joint missions of the U.S. Space Shuttle and the Russian Mir space station have tremendous importance, both in concrete scientific and technical results and as a symbol of the successful, mutually beneficial U.S.-Russian cooperation in general. In the course of this cooperation NASA and RSA have established an excellent foundation for future ISS operations. In addition, the Vice President and Chairman of the Government note the significant efforts of NASA and RSA to overcome difficulties presented by several system off-nominal operations which have occurred on Mir since the beginning of the year. NASA and RSA continue to ensure that the safety of the crew is the number one priority in undertaking these joint flights. The next Shuttle flight to Mir is scheduled to occur shortly after the end of this commission meeting. In the area of science cooperation related to human space flight, the significant accomplishments of the Space Biomedical Center for Training and Research are noted. In particular, the Center has made significant contributions to the development of telemedicine capabilities through its work with the Russian Ministry of Science and Technologies, and Ministry of Health, to foster the dissemination of telemedicine throughout Russia. As the Center begins its third year of activity, it will continue to develop telecommunications links between medical centers, medical institutes, and academic institutions throughout Russia to support both medical education and telemedicine. Founders of the Center anticipate further results in other disciplines, such as gravitational and environmental physiology and pharmacological research. The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government note that in cooperative activities in Space sciences, Earth sciences and Aeronautics the parties have achieved significant milestones since the last meeting of the Joint Commission in February 1997. Accomplishments include: Space Science -- Today NASA and RSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the installation of Russian optical equipment into the Pressure Modulator Infrared Radiometer (PMIRR) instrument on the Mars Surveyor Mission. The PMIRR instrument will be launched with the U.S. 1998 Mars Surveyor Mission on the Mars Surveyor Orbiter. Additionally, the first global balloon flight in the Arctic region was successfully demonstrated in June-July 1997. Earth Sciences -- Continued progress on the Meteor-3M/Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE III) space flight mission scheduled for launch in 1998 and the Meteor-3M/Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) mission scheduled for launch in 2000. Aeronautics -- The successful completion of the first eight flights of the Tu-144LL, of which the last three were supersonic; ongoing ground and flight tests of the Supersonic Combustion Ramjet at the Russian Central Institute of Aviation motors; continuing successful activity of the Joint Working Group on Aeronautics, demonstrated by the renewal of six existing joint projects and the addition of two new areas. Civil Space Operations Coordination -- Achieved progress concerning the establishment of a U.S.-Russian joint working group to explore ways to enhance U.S.-Russian interaction regarding civil space operations coordination. The achievements accomplished thus far to expand U.S.-Russian space and aeronautics cooperation are the foundation for even closer ties between the U.S. and Russia. These programs are teaching us to work together, building trust and creating the basis for even greater cooperation in the future.