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PhD. Eng. Dumitru Hașegan (1943–2021)

on 16 January 2021

The scientific community announces with great sadness the passing away of Mr. Dumitru Hașegan, Phd. Eng., President of the Institute of Space Science (ISS) during 1990–2011, member of the Scientific Council of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), member of the International Academy of Astronautics, multiple delegate to the European Space Agency and to the United Nations, one of leaders of Romania's participation in the INTERCOSMOS Programme, utmost professional and pioneer in Romanian research.

Dumitru Hașegan was born on 7 June 1943 in Săliște, Sibiu. He attended the Ion Neculce highschool in Bucharest, then followed the courses of the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute, obtaining the PhD. Engineer title in 1981. He obtained a specialisation with scholarship at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and completed work placements at renowned research institutes in Russia, Slovakia and Italy. He worked as an engineer and scientific researcher at the Institute of Atomic Physics in Măgurele (1967–1977). In 1977 he joined the Institute of Space Science, whose name and activity evolved over time also under his leadership, as Director (1990–2011).

His scientific activity was carried out in three directions: methodological studies, cosmic radiation research and nuclear physics research. An impressive series of pioneering research is linked to his name. During 1971–1974 he was Principal Investigator of the project "Cosmic Ray Dosimetry at the Supersonic Transport Level", leading the first experiments on Romanian supersonic aircrafts. In 1981 he participated in the scientific programme of the cosmic flight of the first Romanian cosmonaut, being Principal Investigator for the MINIDOSE and INTEGRAL experiments, co-PI of the ASTRO 1, ASTRO 2 and IMMUNITY experiments, and member of the Romanian specialist delegation at the Cosmic Flight Centre, Moscow, during the joint Romanian-Soviet flight, from May 1981.

His experiments flew aboard several satellites, including 9 COSMOS satellites, INTERCOSMOS 17, and SALYUT 6 and 7 orbital stations. In 2006, Dumitru Hașegan coordinated the first Romanian experiment transported by the space shuttle on the International Space Station (ISS).

The CFS-A experiment was carried by the Discovery shuttle on its last flight, STS-133, before being decommissioned to a museum. The experiment aimed to determine the effect of microgravity and cosmic radiation on the growth and survival of coloured fungi species by exposing four biocontainers containing fungi and spores.

For the scientific community, he was and will remain a reference name for Romanian research, which was deeply influenced by his outstanding professional activity and innovative spirit.

The funeral ceremony took place on 17 January 2021. We send our sincere condolences to the family and close friends