24 September 1997


(Joint statement) (1250)

(The following joint 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



The Vice President of the United States of America and the Chairman of
the Government of the Russian Federation note with great satisfaction
the progress made to date in the United States' and Russia's joint
effort to expand cooperation in human space flight. This cooperation
continues to result in unprecedented achievements. In particular, the
joint missions between the U.S. Space Shuttle and the Russian Mir
space station have met significant challenges while providing concrete
scientific and technical results and serving as a symbol of the
benefits of U.S.-Russian cooperation. Our ability to work together in
joint space operations, to deal with on-orbit contingencies, and to
build mutual trust has created a firm basis for future cooperation in
the assembly, operation and use of the International Space Station

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government note that
cooperative activities in human space flight continue to achieve
significant milestones. Accomplishments since the last meeting of the
Joint Commission in February 1997 include:

STS-84 (May 1997)

U.S. Astronaut Jerry Linenger was picked up aboard Ananas and
Astronaut Michael Foale was dropped off during the sixth Shuttle-Mir
docking mission. This was the sixth of nine planned missions to Mir
and the third one involving an exchange of U.S. Astronauts. Atlantis
carried a Spacehab double module, and remained docked to Mir for five
days. STS-84 involved the transfer of more than three tons of water
and logistics to and from the Mir.

On-orbit Contingencies:

NASA has worked closely with the Russian Space Agency (RSA) to solve
or work around a number of contingencies and system anomalies that
have occurred on the Mir station in recent months. As a result, NASA's
relationship with RSA has grown stronger as the two sides have learned
to work together in difficult situations. This strengthened
operational relationship will have tremendous benefits for the
upcoming assembly and operation of the International Space Station.

In the area of science and research cooperation related to human space
flight, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Government note
with satisfaction that several important milestones were reached since
the last Joint Commission meeting:

Space Biomedical Center for Training and Research: In its first two
years of operations, work has progressed to establish the overall
structure for the Center, and on planning the implementation of its
projects, including:

-- exchanges of telemedicine hardware;

-- clinical sessions taking place via the Internet;

-- development of the Center's general medical education component;

-- assessment of Russian space technology which is applicable to
improving life on Earth.

As the Center begins its third year of activity, it will be developing
telecommunications links to medical centers, medical institutes, and
academic institutions throughout Russia to support both medical
education and disseminate telemedicine utilization methods. These
sites, linked via the Internet, will incorporate information
technologies to improve access to health care and health information.
Although the focus of the first two years of activities has been
principally on the development and implementation of telemedicine and
medical education, the founders of the Center anticipate further
results in the other disciplines of gravitational and environmental
physiology and pharmacological research, as well as the implementation
of a business plan for transitioning Russian space technology to the
national economy for the benefit of the people of Russia.

BION-12 Mission: NASA and RSA have agreed to end primate experiments
within the Bion Program. At the same time both sides support the
direction of long term cooperation in the study of biomedicine and
materials in microgravity conditions in Russian automatic spacecraft
which will have important significance in answering fundamental and
applied objectives in the interest of furthering the development of
leading technologies and information systems.

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government will follow with
interest the major upcoming events in U.S.-Russian cooperation in
Human Space Flight. In particular they note the following:

STS-86 (September 1997)

Soon after the conclusion of the ninth session of the
Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission the Space Shuttle Atlantis will deliver
U.S. Astronaut David Wolf to the Mir station and return Michael Foale
to Earth. This will be the seventh Shuttle docking mission in the
Shuttle-Mir program. David Wolf continues American scientific research
on board the Mir station. This mission will also include Russian
Cosmonaut Vladimir Titov flying on board Atlantis.

November 1997: Russian Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAG):
NASA will host a US-Russian Symposium with Russian scientists
presenting the final results of their research funded by NASA ($20M)
via the STAG.

STS-89 (January 1998)

Eighth docking of the space shuttle to Mir. During the mission, a NASA
Astronaut will transfer to Mir and David Wolf will return to Earth.
Russian and American crews will continue to test operational
procedures applicable to the International Space Station and conduct a
variety of scientific experiments in the micrograviy environment.

STS-91 (May 1998)

Ninth docking of the Space Shuttle to Mir. During the mission, a NASA
astronaut will return to Earth. STS-91 will complete the NASA/RSA
Shuttle-Mir program.

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government note the
particular significance of joint activities for the implementation of
the ISS program. They confirm the commitment of both sides to this
fundamental program, and encourage the continuing efforts to maintain
the schedule for the beginning of its on-orbit assembly and completed
construction by 2002.

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government note that the
sides continue to work diligently to overcome the challenges presented
by funding difficulties in Russia. In May 1997 the Government of the
Russian Federation released 800 billion rubles for the International
Space Station Program. RSA is currently working with the Russian
Government to establish the mechanism for provision of $99.5 million
USD (580 billion rubles) to RSA as part of the fiscal year 1997
funding for the International Space Station under a presidential
decree signed on August 8, 1997. The Vice President and Chairman of
the Government noted the importance of the establishment of this
funding mechanism in order for RSA to be able to continue working to
meet the revised 155 schedule. RSA conducted a General Designers
Review (GDR) on September 12,1997, to review the progress of
development of the ISS, including implementation of the Service Module
schedule. At this meeting there was also a chart showing the progress
of work on the Service Module. This GDR provided a basis for decisions
to be taken at the next Space Station Control Board meeting currently
scheduled for September 29, 1997, at which NASA, RSA and the other
partners will reconfirm the ISS program schedule.

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government look forward to
the signing of the lSS international agreements. Considering the
importance of this major science and technology project, the Vice
President and the Chairman of the Government believe the leaders of
the ISS international partner countries should plan to sign the
Intergovernmental Agreement by the end of 1997.