• Nationality

    Belgian

  • Missions

    STS-45 Atlantis

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Dirk Frimout

Astronaut

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Dirk Frimout

Dirk Frimout is the first Belgian astro­naut. He cir­cled the earth in 1992 with the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Dirk Frimout was born on 21 March 1941 in Poperinge. He grad­u­at­ed as an engi­neer in elec­tron­ics and obtained his doc­tor­ate in applied physics at the University of Ghent. Afterwards, he moved to Colorado as a post­doc­tor­al researcher in an atmos­pher­ic and space physics laboratory. 

Frimout’s astro­naut career start­ed in 1977, when he first applied to NASA as an astro­naut and was select­ed as one of the best twelve out of a total of 2500 European can­di­dates. However, only four can­di­dates made it to the final selec­tion and Frimout came fifth. He then became sci­en­tif­ic coor­di­na­tor and coach of the flight participants. 

In 1992, Dirk Frimout became the first Belgian in space. From 24 March to 2 April Frimout cir­cled the Earth in the Space Shuttle Atlantis, togeth­er with six oth­er astro­nauts. On board he was respon­si­ble for the sci­en­tif­ic tests. He stud­ied the atmos­phere, includ­ing the influ­ence of the sun on the earth­’s atmosphere. 

The same year, he was award­ed an hon­orary doc­tor­ate by the University of Ghent. Other dis­tinc­tions fol­lowed, he received the rank of Grand Officer in the Order of Leopold and the title of vis­count’.