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The Romanian Space Agency celebrates 50 years since humankind first stepped on the Moon

on 18 July 2019

On Thursday, 18 July 2019, the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) and the Politehnica University of Bucharest (UPB) celebrated 50 years since humankind first stepped on the Moon by unveiling a plaque dedicated to the Apollo 11 mission. The event took place at the Politehnica University of Bucharest, on the Central Library Square, in the presence of representatives from the Romanian Government, the diplomatic corps, the research and academic community, Romanian industry and civil society.

The event featured speeches from Professor Dr. Eng. Mihnea Costoiu, Rector of the Politehnica University of Bucharest (UPB), Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso, President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), Ms. Merry Miller, Counsellor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, Dr. Eng. Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, the only Romanian who travelled in space, and Associate Professor Dr. Eng. Octavian Thor Pleter, Dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

An anniversary plaque was unveiled following the speeches. The plaque depicts the three crew members of the Apollo 11 Mission: Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot. The plaque will continue to be exhibited in the UPB Campus, next to the Central Library Square.

2019 07 Aniversare Aselenizare Apollo11 B small

On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step on the Moon, four days after the Apollo 11 Mission departed from the Kennedy Space Centre. The Lunar Module landed at 20:17:40 UTC, near the area known as Sea of Tranquillity. Neil Armstrong descended on the lunar surface six and a half hours later, as an estimated 600 million people were watching the broadcast all over the world. He then said one of the most famous quotes in history: “That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”. Few minutes later, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin became the second person that stepped on the Moon.

To date, only 12 astronauts visited the Moon, the last one in 1972. The Artemis Programme, coordinated by NASA together with international partners such as the European Space Agency of which Romania is a Member State, aims to change this by the year 2024. This is the planned date for the landing of the Artemis 3 Mission, which will include the first woman to step on the Moon. The Artemis Programme also plans to pave the way towards a sustainable presence on the Moon, as well as giving way to commercial services including via private flights.

Romania could be an important partner of this international endeavour of peaceful exploration of space, as it already has a significant contribution in this area. Since 2014, Romania is one of the European members involved in the International Space Station programme, along with international partners from the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan. One of Romania’s smart specialisations consists in launching nanosatellites in formation-flying from the ISS, an area that will play an increasingly important commercial role given its many space and ground applications.

Furthermore, the Institute of Space Science (ISS) and Starwalker Competence Centre are developing technologies to evaluate, train and recover the psycho-neuro-motor abilities of astronauts. Such technologies will be essential to future human missions on the Moon or Mars.

The Moon Landing anniversary is celebrated throughout Romania with events organised under the coordinating umbrella   of the International Astronomical Union. The calendar of activities organised by educational institutions, associations and independent clubs can be found here.