The 20th anniversary of the first space bridge between Moscow and Los Angeles - reference - 5 September, 2002

The idea of organising a space bridge arose in 1982 after the rock festival in Saint Bernardino in California. Apart from all kinds of apparatuses, the festival organisers used gigantic TV screens of the size of two- and three-storey buildings to enable as many people as possible to watch what was going on on the stage.

Later the same year, the organisers of the festival in Saint Bernardino proposed to use this method and to link two such screens in different parts of the Earth - in the Soviet Union and the United States, so that the people who would gather in front of the screens could become both watchers and participants in the unprecedented show. The initiative belonged to Steve Vozniak from the American Unison Corporation, the creator of the world's first personal computer, co-founder of the Apple Computer company, and to Soviet script writer Joseph Goldin. This idea has become known as a space bridge.

The negotiations between the Unison Corporation and Gosteleradio of the USSR did not last long and resulted in an appropriate agreement. On September 5th, 1982, a tele-link was established for the first time between the Soviet Union and the United States. The space communication was carried out between a specially equipped mobile studio in the suburb of Los Angeles - Glen-Helen Park and the Third Studio of the Ostankino TV Centre. This space bridge linked 250,000 young Americans who took part in the youth festival "We" who gathered outside Los Angeles, and the young people in the Ostankino studio. From the Soviet side the space bridge was directed by Yuly Gusman; the presenters of the programme were well-known TV journalists Vladimir Pozner and Phil Donahew. Taking part in that programme were Alla Pugachyova, the Stas Namin band, the Russian Song group, vocal and instrumental companies "Plamya," "Dynamic," Voskresenye" and a number of other variety groups. The participants in that space bridge could see each other, ask questions and receive answers and could also could hold a musical dialogue.

The programmes of the following space bridges, however, consisted not only of music-hall turns and greetings. They presented discussions on different subjects, and prominent scientists, public figures, cosmonauts and journalists took part in them.

Space bridges became a new communication channel, an inalienable part of exchanging views on the most important issues of the time thanks to their ability to directly link people in different countries and on different continents, enabling them to talk with each other despite the borders between them.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin