Dirk Frimout is an astrophysicist and astronaut, he is the first Belgian citizen in space.
Dirk Dries David Damiaan Frimout was born on March 21, 1941 in Poperinge, Belgium. He graduated as an Engineer in Electronics and obtained his Doctorate in Applied Physics at the University of Ghent. Afterwards, Dirk Frimout moved to Colorado, U.S. as a postdoctoral researcher in an Atmospheric and Space Physics laboratory in the university of Colorado, in Boulder USA. He also worked at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy until 1978.
Dirk Frimout became an astronaut candidate in 1977. He joined the European Space Agency in 1978, as senior engineer in the Payload Utilization Department of the Columbus Directorate. He was responsible for the ESA support to the European experiments on ATLAS‑1. Frimout acted as crew and experiment coordinator for several European Experiments aboard Spacelab. He was selected in 1978 as back-up payload specialist for Shuttle flight STS-45 (the ATLAS 1 mission). 13 years later, Dirk Frimout became Payload Specialist for the STS-45 mission and became the first Belgian in space, on board the Atlantis Shuttle on March 24, 1992. He was responsible for the scientific experiments carried out on board Atlantis. It was the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth. During the nine-day flight, the crew aboard Atlantis operated the twelve experiments that constituted the ATLAS‑1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) cargo. ATLAS‑1 obtained a vast array of detailed measurements of atmospheric chemical and physical properties, which contributed significantly to improving our understanding of our climate and atmosphere. At mission conclusion, Frimout had traveled 3.2 million miles in 143 Earth orbits and logged over 214 hours in space. This Atlas‑1 mission was completed on April 2 with a successful landing at Kennedy Space Center.
After this mission, he worked in the Microgravity division in Estec.
Currently, Frimout is a retired ESA staff member.
In 1994 he became the chairman of the Euro Space Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to motivate young people for science and space technology.
Dirk Frimout has authored more than 30 publications relating to Atmospheric Physics Experiments, Crew Training for Spacelab, and Microgravity Experiments. Dirk Frimout was made “Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold” and also received the noble title of Viscount.