The Association of Space Explorers’ 32nd Planetary Congress set for launch in Houston
International event returns to the U.S. after decade abroad

HOUSTON – The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) today announced that more than 130 astronaut and cosmonaut delegates from across the planet will gather in Houston, Texas, for its XXXII Planetary Congress from October 14-18. The week-long Congress, which rotates to a different nation every year, returns to the U.S. for only the fourth time since 1985.

The Congress, featuring the theme “Celebrating Apollo-Inspiring the Future,” will recognize and honor the U.S. Apollo Program’s first landing on the Moon, share with the public the accomplishments and the inspiration of space exploration over the last 50 years, and discuss the future of space exploration – from the personal views of the flyers themselves. This year will mark the largest gathering of international astronauts in history.

“Each year we are invited by a different nation to share the knowledge we acquire from space exploration, and to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers,” said Professor Bonnie J. Dunbar, PhD, retired astronaut, professor of aerospace engineering  at Texas A&M University and ASE XXXII Planetary Congress chair. “So, it is only fitting to have the Congress return to the U.S., to the location where our journey to the Moon first began more than 50 years ago.”

Members of ASE represent 38 nations who have flown astronauts into space, including five major space agencies: NASA (US), Russian Space Agency (RSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Delegates who will attend and provide public programs include astronauts who flew during Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle, MIR Space Station and the International Space Station programs.

The ASE XXXII Planetary Congress will feature individual and panel presentations of broad interest to the public, students of all ages, university faculty, businesses, communities and elected leaders. Key components of the 2019 Congress will include:

Technical Sessions – Delegates will share their experiences in space and perspectives on future plans for low-Earth orbit, as well as exploration back to the Moon and on to Mars. Topics also include future space suit development and the research required to maintain human health. Five primary technical sessions will take place at Space Center Houston, the Rice University Baker Institute of Public Policy and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Most sessions are open to the general public and all will be live-streamed directly from venues. The complete agenda can be viewed here.

Statewide “Community Day” Event – On October 16, 2019, Congress delegates will follow an ASE tradition of dedicating one day to visit schools, universities and communities throughout Texas. These visits are intended to generate public awareness about human space exploration and to inspire students in STEM (science, engineering, technology and math). During the visits, ASE astronauts and cosmonauts will share their flight experiences and answer questions about the scientific and engineering achievements of their flights, “living” in space, and the opportunities and challenges of returning to the Moon and travelling on to Mars.

Community Day events are being organized by Texas A&M University, the Astronaut Scholars Foundation, Space Center Houston, Lone Star Flight Museum, NASA JSC, University of Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Schools, community groups or companies interested in astronaut visits on October 16, 2019, may contact Daniel Newmyer at Space Center Houston (innovation@spacecenter.org), or submit an online application here.

Other Ceremonies and Events – Opening ceremonies will take place at Space Center Houston on the morning of October 14 and is open to the public with an admission ticket. Several other events will showcase the unique aspects and premiere institutions of Houston, including the ASE Awards Ceremony, where the ASE Crystal Helmet and the Leonov Medal will be presented.

The ASE XXXII Planetary Congress presenting sponsor is The Texas A&M University System. Questions about The Texas A&M University System ongoing commitment to human space exploration and planned Community Day events at Texas A&M educational sites around Texas should be referred to Marilyn Martell (mmartell@tamu.edu).

Media interested in attending the Congress events should register here. For more information about ASE’s XXXII Planetary Congress, visit ase2019.org.

About the Association of Space Explorers
The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) professional and educational organization of more than 400 flown astronauts and cosmonauts from 38 nations. ASE’s mission is to provide a forum for professional dialogue among individuals who have flown in space; to communicate the benefits of space science and exploration to the public; to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); to inspire all students; to foster environmental awareness and geographical literacy through such programs as “Windows on the Earth”; and to encourage international cooperation in the exploration of space.

About the ASE XXXII Planetary Congress
Flown astronaut/cosmonaut delegates from all over the world will gather in Houston, Texas, for the XXXII Planetary Congress to honor the accomplishments in space exploration over the last five decades, share with the public the science and engineering achievements generated by space exploration, and shine a light on the future as we journey back to the Moon and on to Mars. For more information on the ASE and its XXXII Planetary Congress, visit ase2019.org or follow the Congress on Twitter and Facebook.

 # # #