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The conclusions of the UN workshop on human spaceflight and Solar System exploration

UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) adopted a report on the progress and results of the international workshop on human space flight and exploration of the Solar System on the February session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee. Workshop was held in mid-September 2013 in Beijing, organized by the UN in collaboration with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) .

The event was organized as part of UN Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI). It was attended by over 150 experts from 31 countries, including the Czech Republic. The program was composed of nine technical sections, poster session and meetings of four working groups. Czech Space Office expert Michal Václavík presented a paper entitled "Microgravity and Human Spaceflight Related Research in the Czech Republic" on the results of the Czech research in microgravity conditions on the International Space Station and ground based experimental facilities. Lecture reaped success and as one of the few was cited in the UN report (see link in the left column), where the unique Czech laboratory Hydronaut is mentioned.

At the accompanying poster session was subjected poster of student Jan Hrabovský on "Student Contest – Expedition Mars“. Its content was the introduction of international contests for children, produced by the Czech Space Office, Children's Press Agency Domino and Regional youth center in Košice.

Michal Václavík also attended all meetings of the working groups oriented on research in microgravity conditions, which aimed to identify the capacity and current activities in each country and discussed the problems and their solutions. Czech Space Office employee supported particularly straightforward approach in the international cooperation, standardization of ground facilities and broadening its scope by research in hypergravity conditions. Then the conclusions were formulated by the working group, which were included in the recommendations for the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

From the course of the workshop was evident that a manned space flights and exploration of the Solar System are seen as a common goal of mankind in all countries, which can be fullfilled only through intensive international cooperation. The UN HSTI should play a role in ensuring mutual exchange of infomration among states about their activities, plans and opportunities for mutual international cooperation. It was also noted that long-term stays in space stations, planetary bases and during interplanetary flights have an adverse effect on human physiology and psychology. These effects could be mitigated by using artificial gravity.

One of the major themes was the education, from elementary to university students and teachers and increase of awareness and public interest in space exploration. In many countries, including the Czech Republic, there are no mechanisms for astronautics integration into curricula even within existing subjects. The problem is also in financing, for the research associated with manned space flights is still unavailable to many states. Since 2011 the UN seeks to provide free access to the ground platforms to induce short-term microgravity conditions (clinostats, drop towers) for the developing countries. It should be noted that it is planned to expand this activity with a great success.

Czech Republic should get inspired by the recommendations of the astronautics integration into students and teachers tuition. Similarly, the funding of research projects in the field of microgravity and hypergravity should be ensured, to match rules, needs and international opportunities schedule. Without this change, the development of space research and development is insufficient and inadequate to our national capacities.