Posted by: mbconsulting | April 13, 2011

Travel into space – Tribute to My Teachers – short notes

Yesterday, it was a great celebration and one teacher from Polytechnic Institute Bucharest was celebrated.

His name is Dumitru Prunariu and he was awarded as the first Romanian cosmonaut. I had the chance to meet him as teacher, to work with his wife and I was in contact with other persons trained as cosmonauts, but they did not have the chance to fly into space.

Here is the short biography Dumitru Prunariu, according to Wikipedia:

Mathematics high school in Braşov in 1971 and from the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharestin 1976, obtaining a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Prunariu worked as a Diploma Engineer at “Industria Aeronautică Română IAR- Braşov”, an aircraft industry facility, prior to enrolling in the Romanian Air Force Officers Training School in 1977.

Intercosmos program


Leonid Popov (left), and Dumitru Prunariu in 1981

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 ofastrophysicsspace radiationspace technologyspace medicine and biology. Prunariu became the 103rd human being to fly into the Outer Space.

In 1981, after completing the flight, he received the awards of Hero of the Socialist Republic of Romania and Hero of the Soviet Union (22 May 1981) and the medal “Golden Star”. He was also awarded the Order of Lenin.

AfterwardsPrunariu is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (1992 – corresponding member, 2008 – full member) and a member of the Romanian National COSPAR Committee (1994). In 1984 he was awarded the “Hermann Oberth Gold Medal” by the German Rocket Society “Hermann Oberth – Wernher von Braun”. In 1985 joined the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), which currently (2010) comprises over 325 flown individuals from 35 countries. Since 1993 until 2004 he has been the permanent representative of the Association of Space Explorers at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) sessions. Since 1996 Prunariu has been a member of the Executive Committee of ASE for two terms of tree years. Since 1992 he has represented the Government of Romania to the UN COPUOS sessions.

Since 1995 Prunariu is the Vice-President of the International Institute for Risk, Security and Communication Management (EURISC), Bucharest.

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. In 2004 he was elected as the Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UN COPUOS for a two years term. On 1 December 2000, he was appointed a Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Romania.

For 1,5 years starting with May 2004 he was the itinerary Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Russian Federation.

In February 2007 he completely retired from the Ministry of Defense with the rank of a Major-General, continuing to work on the same positions as a civilian servant. Until September 2008 he accomplished the duties of the Director of the Romanian Office for Science and Technology to the European Union (ROST) in Brussels. Currently, Prunariu is working for the Romanian Space Agency as an expert within the Airspace Consulting Association. He was elected the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) for the period of June 2010-June 2012. In addition to that, at the XXIII Congress of the Association of Space Explorers that took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the period of 5-10 October 2010, D. Prunariu was elected the President of the new organized Chapter of the association, ASE Europe.

Prunariu is a co-author of several books regarding space technology and space flight and has presented/published numerous scientific papers. His PhD thesis produced new developments in the field of space flight dynamics.

Prunariu is married to Crina Prunariu and has two sons and three grandchildren.

But much more than this I would like to bring my profound tribute to my teachers that advised me and tauch me in a period when restrictions imposed by communists for the people involved in science where severe.

First of all, I would like to mention the former Dean: Corneliu Berbente.

I remembered his course: Applied Mathematics – Numerical Methods – where almost everything that was presented during that course was like a poetry. You have to be very carefully as not to miss an important, but less vocal marked, issue. The whole course was a provocation: select the relevant and not so relevant issues.

He also loved theater and a student team played a parody where in the main role was, of course THE DEAN. I just remembered his reactions: he enjoyed the play and at the end he congratulated the team. Such an open mind…

Also I would also like to send special dedications and lots of applauses for his Diploma where the whole text – of course, a scientific text – was written as an epigram…

Here is a short and relevant short biography Corneliu Berbente, according to

He was born on August 8, 1938 at Stravopoles-Moreni, and is Aeronautical engineer. The specialization done at Stanford (1970-1972) and Virginia State University (1976). He received his doctorate in 1970, with thesis Determination pressures and aerodynamic characteristics of wing and fuselage in supersonic-hypersonic regime(under the leadership of acad. Elie Carafoli).

Since 1960 it has devoted his teaching career. He taught courses gaze-dynamics, fluid mechanics, numerical methods in aeronautics, aerodynamics and gas dynamics, gas turbines and reactors, mathematical special supplements heat and mass transfer. He wrote over 100 scientific papers, dealing with supersonic-hypersonic regime, supersonic flow after uneven circular cone, hydrogen combustion engines studies air reactors, theoretical and experimental study of liquid jets at low Reynolds numbers, the calculation contra rotating propellers, with potential applications compressible motions the aerodynamic speeds, movements around porous bodies, general algorithms for nonlinear problems.

Another teacher that contributed to my development was Petre Augustin, the person that discover the flatter effect and was involved in different researching in USA.

His course was a permanent joke and description of his work, and only from time to time, he was presenting the course. You may say that he lost his time with jokes, but guys, there were jokes that describe the working atmosphere from USA, so in a communist era you may treat this info only as good jokes, because other wise… I also remembered that he put on movie scene  that presented the flatter effect that Peter Augustin discovered. The movie was produced in USA and took into consideration the flatter effect on small airplanes. It was a really interested tool used to teaching, so therefore I did not forget about it.

Here is a short biography Petre Augustin according to

Peter Augustine (November 13, 1923-January 7, 1999) was born in Cehul-Silvaniei in Salaj, ROMANIA. He graduatedBucharest Polytechnic School as aviation engineer in 1947. He attended at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Sciences, earning in 1948, and the Faculty of Philosophy, licensed in 1947. He received his doctorate in technical science in 1966 with a thesis on the study of static aeroelastic drag portal system, and in 1969 he became Doctor of Sciences. From 1948 he was assistant at the Faculty of Mechanics of the Polytechnic Institute Bucharest, lecturer (1953), lecturer (1957), Professor (1967), being the head of department aircraft. Between 1950 and 1960 he was leader of the Institute’s Structural Dynamics Department of Applied Mechanics of the Academy. He was also a glider pilot and aircraft. His areas of research were resistant materials, calculation and construction of aircraft structures and dynamics aeroelasticitatea.He has published over 200 works and has carried out research on the prototype aircraft. UN Expert since 1975, has done surveys on aeroelastic phenomena and behavior and strength of assemblies and equipment causing accidents, air disasters and transportation. He studied the effect of bending torsion flutter and the influence of this phenomenon on the bearing surfaces. Other studies have focused aeroelasticitatea wing theory in the transonic regime dynamic aeroelasticity.

For all these teachers and other that were not even mentioned I would like to give my whole grateful thanks and keep them in my dearest memories.

Some of them died, so RIP, and for the rest of them God bless them and their hard work that year by year contributed to new generation of engineers!

Thank you again!




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