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Bucharest, Oct 21 /Agerpres/ - Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu on Friday received the highest distinction of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), that of a Distinguished Member, and also the gold insignia of ASE members. In the entire history of the Association, only 10 astronauts and cosmonauts received this distinction, which is rarely granted and only for exceptional merits.

The Romanian scientist received the distinction in Toulouse, France, during the wrapping ceremony of the 30th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers, which brought together more than 400 astronauts and cosmonauts from 36 states.

Prunariu has been awarded this distinction for his special merits in promoting the Association and its objectives, its activities within the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), for his activity as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association, across several mandates, his activity while he was President of the Association (2011-2014) and President of the Association's European arm (2010-2016), and also for his entire activity as one of the founding members of ASE (1985) and the only participant in all its 30 annual congresses so far.

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, 65, at the age of 28, became the first and only Romanian cosmonaut who ever flew in the cosmic space, in a mission that lasted for approximately 8 days. Throughout his entire activity, he was distinguished with numerous awards and decorations. In April 2017, the International Astronomic Union announced the fact that the Asteroid 10707 received the name "Prunariu" in honour of the first and only Romanian astronaut.

This year's edition of the Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers, which is organized on an annual basis, has been held over October 16-21. In closing this event, the ASE Executive Committee granted its annual distinctions. headquartered in the United States, the Association of Space Explorers has four regional arms (United States, Russia, Europe, Asia). AGERPRES (RO - editor: Mariana Ionescu, EN - author/editor: Cristina Zaharia)

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