Endurance Cartel podcast

#013 - The Universe Through The Eyes Of An Astronaut! Dumitru Dorin Prunariu’s Flight Into Space

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The world we create in our childhood dreams makes us believe that everything is possible. Although most of us outgrow them, sometimes dreams have the power to shape and influence our future.

Dumitru Dorin Prunariu, today's guest on the Endurance Cartel is one of those people strong enough to let their dreams guide their path in life. After graduating from the Physics and Mathematics high school in Brașov, Dorin went on to the Politehnica University of Bucharest where he obtained a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

In 1978, while working for the Romanian Aeronautic Industry, he was selected for spaceflight training in the Russian Intercosmos Program. After obtaining the highest marks in his three years of training in the program, Dorin became the first Romanian astronaut and the 103rd human being to fly into space.

Listen to Dorin’s fascinating story about testing the limits of human endurance and surviving for eight days in outer space, aboard the space station Salyute 6.


In today’s episode:


(01:15) Dumitru Dorin Prunariu- the 103rd astronaut ever to fly into space and the first Romanian astronaut;

(02:30) How it all started- graduating from the Politehnica University of Bucharest, with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, getting selected for the Russian Intercosmos program, and training in the Star City for three years;

(06:12) Being trained for a short period of  time as a commander for the spacecraft Soyuz 40;

(07:57) Physical challenges while getting ready for the flight- combining theoretical and practical training with physical exercises and training in the centrifuge;

(13:05) Launching day, May 14th, 1981 - what was going through his mind while preparing for flight and the story of the onions that ended up in space;

(19:08) Seeing Earth from out of space- spotting Romania, the Carpathians, and the place where he was born; 

(21:46) Life on the Space Station Salyut 6- sleeping on the ceiling of the space station and experiencing weightlessness;

(24:13) Waking up on the space station- what is daily life like in space?

(29:14) How were the crew members getting along in the enclosed environment of the space station? Un unreported occurrence…

(31:45) Sneaking a Canon camera into the space station despite Russians being against the use of any equipment that was not made in the Soviet Union or by one of the countries they had agreements with;

(35:16) Facing difficulties while landing back on Earth;

(38:11) Readjusting to gravity;

(45:13) There’s no political agenda that can interfere between astronauts and detour them from their common goals;

(49:12) Elon Musk- a visionary or a dreamer?

(51:29) Is there life on other planets in the Universe?

(53:59)  Advice for kids wanting to become astronauts;

(56:00) Dorin’s foundation, books, and future plans.




“They looked for the resistance in our bodies, not our strength. The resistance to face running many kilometers, to have normal breathing, the heart working normally during our training.”


“The spacecraft was put into orbit, full silence, weightlessness inside, and everything started to float around.”


“Your vestibular apparatus doesn’t work normally on the ground in the first hours (from landing). Even the first day. After about two hours I could walk by myself, but only going straight. If I wanted to turn to the left or to the right, I just felt that my legs turned, but my body was going straight and I was falling down.”


“Before my first space flight, I was a little bit scared. But I said, ok, I have to do it. I was trained for three years and this was the top of my career.”


“Of course, we think that in the Universe there are intelligent beings. Maybe much more developed than we are, maybe less developed. We don’t know yet, and we are still very far to determine where intelligent life could be in the Universe.”


“When you fly into outer space you see the Earth as unity. You see the entire Earth and you understand that it belongs to all humans on Earth. You are not only a citizen of your country, you become a citizen of the planet. You see the beauties of the Earth and you also see the wounds of the Earth.”


“I couldn’t dream at that time to fly into outer space because, for Romania at that time, it was too far. For us, outer space belonged to the Soviet Union and to the United States.”



Links selected from this episode:





  • Salyut 6- a Soviet orbital space station, the eighth station of the Salyut program;



  • The Association of Space Explorers-  is a non-profit organization with a membership composed of people who have completed at least one Earth orbit in space.


Follow Dorin:



His Foundation- Cosmonaut Dumitru Dorin Prunariu’s Foundation



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