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Gore, Chernomyrdin tour Valley

Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin discuss U.S.-Russian technological accord in Silicon Valley.

Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met with high-tech industry leaders in Silicon Valley yesterday and discussed a newfound U.S.-Russian technological accord.

At the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space plant in Sunnyvale, once a hub of the U.S. defense contracting network, the two men were shown production of an A2100 telecommunications satellite. The satellite will provide communications to Eastern Europe, southern Asia, and Africa.

During the visit, Lockheed Martin Intersputnik announced that its first satellite, LMI-1, will be launched in December. The group is a joint venture of Lockheed and the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications, which consists of 23 member countries.

Gore and Chernomyrdin came to California after two days of meetings in Washington, where they led the tenth session of a joint commission designed to expand post-Cold War cooperation. Chernomyrdin said the visit proved that joint U.S.-Russian efforts to cooperate have been successful.

"This visit...would have been unthinkable a short six or seven years ago," he said in remarks reported by Reuters. "This is what we have labored for all these years."

The two also watched a demonstration, held at Cisco Systems in San Jose, in which representatives from the networking giant and medical diagnostic systems manufacturer Acuson conducted an ultrasound examination of a 20-week-pregnant patient and transmitted the images of the fetus over the Net to a PC. It was designed to show the growth of Net technologies in medicine.

Cisco also hosted a 90-minute roundtable event in which several industry and academic leaders discussed the relationship between free-market capitalism and the growth of high-technology businesses.

Today, Gore proposed that NASA build a satellite to send continuous live images of Earth to the Internet, according to wire service reports. The satellite, which is estimated to cost between $20 million and $50 million, will show pictures of cloud movement, hurricanes, and other phenomena. Gore said the mission would help generate and encourage interest in science, technology, and the environment among schoolchildren, whose use of the Net in schools is steadily increasing.