Dumitru Prunariu

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu is a Romanian engineer who flew aboard Soyuz 40, the first Romanian astronaut.

Born on September 27, 1952 in Braşov, Romania, graduated from the Polytechnical University of Bucharest in 1976, obtaining a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Prunariu worked as an Engineer at IAR Braşov, an aircraft industry facility, prior to enrolling in the Romanian Air Force Officers Training School in 1977.

He was selected for spaceflight training in 1978 as a part of the Intercosmos Program. Obtaining the maximum marks during three years of preparation he was selected for a joint space flight with the Russian cosmonaut Leonid Popov. In May 1981 they completed an eight-day space mission on board Soyuz 40 and the Salyut 6 space laboratory where they completed scientific experiments in the fields of astrophysics, space radiation, space technology, space medicine and biology. Prunariu became the 103rd human being to fly into the Outer Space.

Dumitru Prunariu has received the Supreme Title of Hero of S.R.Romania (1981), the Order Golden Star as a Hero of the Soviet Union (1981), the "Hermann Oberth Gold Medal" by the German Rocket Society (1984), and the Order Star of Romania at the rank of High Officer (2000).

He is a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics (1992) and a member of the Committee on Space Research (1994). In 1985 joined the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) and between 1993 and 2004 he has been the permanent representative of the ASE at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) sessions. From 1998 to 2004 Prunariu was the President of the Romanian Space Agency, and from 2000 an Associate Professor on Geopolitics within the Faculty of International Business and Economics, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania.

Currently, Prunariu is the President of the Board of the Romanian Space Agency and accomplishes the duties of the Director of the Romanian Office for Science and Technology to the European Union (ROST) in Brussels. In February 2007 he completely retired from the Ministry of Defense with the rank of a two star general, continuing to work on the same positions as a civilian servant.