This is the Sixth of the series of US-Russian Space Surveillance Workshops, in a period starting in 1994. The first, third, and fourth workshops were held at the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC, the second was at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and the fifth was held here at Pulkovo Observatory in 2003.
Over the period of years some of the participants have been the same, and others have changed. We have gotten to know each other and learned that we are all trying to do the same things. There has been a progression in the improved communication, in science, music, and friendship. There have been changes in both our governments' support and approaches to space surveillance. We have learned to discuss the various aspects of our activities and to learn from each other. There have been cooperative research projects and joint papers, both at other meetings and in these workshops.
This workshop has a larger attendance and a number of new participants. I hope that the size will not inhibit the discussion, or change the atmosphere of scientific exchange of information.
The format of the workshop is a series of papers interspersed with discussion. There is a program with a schedule. However, this is a workshop, so discussions in the workshop are more important than staying on a schedule. We need to be flexible and to make adjustments as necessary to encourage useful discussions. Discussions outside the meeting room can be more important than the details in the papers. The establishment of contacts and friendships between people from the two countries can lead to critical communication and important research cooperation. At the last workshop one of the US delegates took up cigarette smoking only for the workshop, so he would have the opportunity to meet and talk in Russian with more people during smoke breaks. He improved his language skills and learned more from the experience.
The real goal of these workshops is the long term communication and cooperation, in the important aspects of space surveillance, between our two countries, including our European colleagues.
P. Kenneth Seidelmann