Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru Prunariu received the highest distinction of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) becoming a Distinguished Member.
Prunariu was decorated in Toulouse, France during the closing ceremony of the 30rd Worldwide Congress of the ASE. He was acknowledged for his credit in promoting the association’s activities and goals inside the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS).
Prunariu was one of the founding members of ASE in 1985 and a member in the executive committee. He was the president of the association between 2011 and 2014 and the president of the European branch between 2010 and 2016. He was the only attendee of all of the 30 annual congresses.
He became the only Romanian cosmonaut in space 37 years ago at the age of 28. His mission lasted for 8 days. In 2017 the International Astronomy Union named the Asteroid 10707 after Prunariu.
ASE currently has over 400 members (astronauts and cosmonauts) from 36 states but only 10 of them received the Distinguished Member status so far.
This year’s congress took place between October 16 and 21.