International Order of Security Award for the First Hungarian Astronaut, Bertalan Farkas

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his spaceflight, Brigadier General Bertalan Farkas, astronaut-researcher has been awarded with the Grand Cross of the International Order of Security, upon the nomination of the IBSSA and the IAPA (International Auxiliary Police Association).

The prestigious recognition was handed over on the 30th July 2020, at the Hadik Hotel of the Hungarian Ministry of Defence in the presence of former colleagues of the cosmonaut and representatives of high government offices, including Dr. Orsolya Ferencz, Ministerial Commissioner for Space Research and Mr. Dávid Szesztai, Head of the Department for Space Research and Space Activities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Mr. Mikhail Vladimir, Honorary Member of IBSSA, State Counsellor of the Russian Federation and Central-European representative of the Ruski Mir Foundation for the promotion of Russian culture worldwide also honoured the event and at the same time conveyed the congratulations and greetings of Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the well-known first female astronaut in the history of spaceflight, who embarked on a space trip in solo mission on the 26th June 1963, at the age of 28, aboard the Vostok-6 spacecraft.

Prof. George Popper – President of IBSSA, Mr. Zoltán Hossó – President of IAPA, and Mr. Erik Galovtsik – Secretary General of the International Order of Security in Hungary presented the medal along with a diploma and an ID-card to the Hungarian astronaut.

In his response, Bertalan Farkas felt honoured to receive such a decoration, he had already been given several Hungarian and foreign recognitions, but this special award came to him as a surprise and encouragement to continue working. “It feels great to be recognised for one’s accomplishments,” he added.

Colonel-Physician Dr. Péter Remes, former director of the Aero-Medical Examination and Research Institute (ROVKI) praised Bertalan Farkas’s professional performance and shared interesting information about the spaceflight 40 years ago and the serious and complex preparations for it.

On the 26th May 1980, the first Hungarian astronaut, space researcher and fighter pilot Bertalan Farkas began his journey in space aboard the Soyuz-36 spacecraft. He spent 7 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes in space. The spaceflight took place within the framework of the Soviet Union’s Intercosmos Program and space research cooperation. In May 1977, experts of ROVKI in the city of Kecskemét selected four excellent fighter pilots of the Hungarian Air Force, and gave the status of astronaut candidates to two of them: Bertalan Farkas and Béla Magyari, who were able to continue their professional training together with their Soviet colleagues between 1978-80 at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City near Moscow. Both Hungarians completed the training with outstanding results, earning the greatest recognition of professional circles. Finally, the Hungarian organisers chose the 31-year-old Bertalan Farkas (born 2nd August 1949) for the spaceflight, and Béla Magyari was ready to replace him all along. Bertalan Farkas’s partner and commander was the very experienced cosmonaut Valery Kubasov (1935–2014), who flown into the space for the third time. On the 26th May 1980, at 21:20 Moscow time, the two astronauts were launched into the space aboard the Soyuz-36 spacecraft from Baikonur Spaceport (Kazakhstan). Astronaut and engineer Alexei Yeliseev controlled the flight at the USSR Space Control Centre. Hungary was the seventh nation with a representative sent to space. Following the flight program, the spacecraft was connected to the Salyut-6 Space Station on the 28th May, where Soviet astronauts Leonid Popov and Valery Ryumin welcomed the crew. Several Hungarian research institutes developed Bertalan Farkas’s space programme between 1976 and 1980, and the two astronauts carried out biomedical, metal technology, physical, remote sensing and resource research experiments and observations at the space station between 26 May and 3 June. Upon their return, both astronauts received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of the Hungarian People’s Republic.

On the 26th May 2020, Dr. Tibor Benkő – Minister of Defence presented Bertalan Farkas with the prestigious Görgei Lifetime Achievement Award, marking the 40th anniversary of the historic spaceflight. With his unique oeuvre, Mr. Farkas has gained international recognition for Hungary, and to this day he plays an important role in the field of Hungarian and international space research. He is a founding member of the Association of Space Explorers. The one-week space trip took place during the dawn of spaceflight; now astronauts spend more months in space at a time, depending on the nature of the mission.

Recently, Zrínyi Publishing House published a book about Bertalan Farkas’s life, written by István Tőrös, entitled Csillagok útján (On the Way of the Stars) and a dedicated copy was presented to Prof. George Popper, IBSSA President at the reception held in honour of the cosmonaut.

19th August 2020