Chapter Twenty - Into the Future
ON THE 26TH AUGUST 1978, on the eve of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, Colonel Valery Bykovsky of the USSR and Lieutenant-Colonel Sigmund Jann of the GDR were launched into space on board Soyuz 31. They docked with the Salyut 6 orbital space laboratory on the 27th August and were greeted by Colonel Vladimir Kovalyonok and Alexander Ivanchenkov who had been in space since the 17th June.
The two visitors returned to earth in Soyuz 29 and soft-landed on the Kazakhstan steppe on the 3rd September after carrying out a number of scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments. This was the third expedition of the joint Intercosmos programme, the first two having involved visits to Salyut 6 by cosmonauts from Poland and Czechoslovakia. By the time Bykovsky and Jann arrived, Salyut 6 had been in orbital flight for about twelve months.
Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU and President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Central Conunittee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and President of the State Council of the GDR, sent the following joint message of congratulations to the four cosmonauts in Salyut 6 on the 27th August:
"The whole world sees the impressive successes of the socialist countries in the joint exploration and peaceful uses of outer space. The peoples of the world appreciate the fact that the socialist countries were the first to form international crews of space explorers. You, envoys of socialism in space, show to all the peoples of the globe a convincing example of disinterested comradely joint action by the peoples of the fraternal socialist countries."
In their reply, the cosmonauts said: "We members of the international crew assure the party and state leadership of our fraternal countries, and you personally, that we shall make every effort and take advantage of all our knowledge and skill to justify the great honour and trust shown to us. The progranune of joint scientific, technical and medico-biological research and experiments on board the research complex of Salyut 6 - Soyuz 29 - Soyuz 31 will be implemented successfully. Long live socialist internationalism."
This is not the end of the story. There is no end to this story. It is a continuing story of progress in all fields - but especially in the field of social development based upon changing methods of production. We are privileged to live in the period of transition from capitalism to communism. This booklet deals with the story of the first 30 years of social progress in the German Democratic Republic. It starts in the ruins of Berlin and ends in outer space. But this end is only a new beginning. Those who live through the next 30 years will see advances we can only dream about today. Hopefully, it will see Britain joining the community of socialist nations and adding its weight to the further development of socialism in Europe; for that is the historic mission of the British working class.