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Anniversary events: 40 years since the space flight of Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu

on 14 May 2021

On 14 May 1981, Romania was sending its first cosmonaut into space, becoming the 11th country in the world to do so. A series of events are taking place to mark this historic event and celebrate 40 years since the flight of Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu into space.

The Soyuz 40 spacecraft was launched on 14 May 1981 at 20:16 local time in Romania with the Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu and the Russian commander Leonid Popov on board. The spacecraft coupled to the orbital space station Salyut 6 on 15 May at 21:50 local time in Romania. Together with the station crew they ran a number of 11 Romanian scientific experiments, 4 proposed by the flight partners and continued several others, left unfinished by the previous Intercosmos crews. The return to Earth of the Soyuz-40 mission took place on 22 May 1981, at 16:58 local time in Romania, after 7 days, 20 hours, 41 minutes and 52 seconds. Dumitru Prunariu thus became the first Romanian to fly into space and the 103rd person in the world to achieve this feat.

Calendar of events

14 May, 14:00 – ROSA anniversary event — 40 years since the space flight of Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu

14 May, 18:30 – Anniversary TV show broadcasted on TVR1, TVR International and TVR +

15 May, 10:00 – Inauguration of the anniversary exhibition at the National Military Museum.

17 May, 11:00 – Special event at the Transilvania University of Brașov

17 May – Scientific educational event at the Cotroceni Palace

18 May – Symposium for diplomatic members organised by the Ministry of External Affairs

19-20 May – Special events at the West University of Timisoara

22 May, 17:00 – Cultural event at the Dinu Lipatti House of Arts

With the occasion of the 40-year anniversary, Romfilatelia launched a special postage stamp, while the Romanian State Mint issued an anniversary medal and pin.

The Cosmonaut Dumitru Dorin Prunariu Foundation is coordinating most of these scientific and cultural events taking place between 14 and 22 May. International personalities and astronauts from the USA, Russia, Japan and the European countries will send anniversary messages, including from aboard the International Space Station.

Other events that already took place are:

7 May – Scientific session “Flight among stars”, organised by the Romanian Academy, in partnership with National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism and the Centre for Russian and Soviet Studies “Florin Constantiniu”.

7 May – Inauguration of a photographic and documentary exhibition to mark 40 years since the first flight of a Romanian into space and 60 years since the first human to fly into space. The exhibition consists of novel images and data about the two scientific achievements, offered by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bucharest.

Image from the Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu personal archive