Colonel Béla Magyari, backup for Hungary’s cosmonaut Bertalan Farkas, has died at the age of 69.
Magyari died after a long illness in the early hours of Monday, his friend Nándor Schuminsky, a member of the Hungarian Astronautical Society, told MTI.
Born in 1949, Magyari studied in Hungary and the Soviet Union to become a fighter pilot of the Hungarian Air Force in the early 1970s.
In 1977 he was selected as a candidate for a Hungarian spaceflight in the framework of the Soviet Intercosmos space programme designed to help the Soviet Union’s allies with space missions.
From 1978 to 1980 Magyari and Farkas prepared for the flight in the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Moscow.
Finally Farkas was selected for the mission he performed in the company of Soviet cosmonaut Valery Kubasov on board of Soyuz 36 from May 26 to June 3, 1980.
Magyari then graduated from the Budapest Technical University and worked as an aeronautical engineer and pilot. He took part in upgrading MiG-21 fighters and served for half a year in the NATO-led Stabilisation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
From 2001 to 2006 he was president of the Hungarian Astronautical Society.
As we wrote in 2015, Bertalan Farkas said that he held talks about possibilities of cooperation in space research with Russian colleagues in Moscow.
Read more about Bertalan Farkas HERE.