A departed friend: Hamid Hassan
28 January 2001Hamid Hassan died on 7 January this year after a three-year fight against the illness, which he learned about shortly after his retirement from the European Space Agency.
Hamid was born on April 24 1936, in Jhelum, a small village in Pakistan where he received his initial education. After his degree he gained a scholarship to study for his PhD at Loughborough University. Out of about a 1000 students' applying for this scholarship Hamid was the happy winner. A few years later he joined ESA in the Thermal Control Section later he moved to the Spacelab Project where he successfully headed the Environmental & Life Support Group. He enjoyed his new role and quickly showed exceptional abilities, which won him the respect of his colleagues at ESA, NASA and of the industrial partners on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ten years later, Hamid joined ESA's Science Directorate, first to lead the Hipparcos project and later the Cassini-Huygens mission. He was excellent in recruiting teams, which he welded into tight-knit dedicated groups. Hipparcos generated the first high precision metric catalogue of the stars. Huygens was Europe's first planetary spacecraft, which will enter and descend through the atmosphere of Titan. Hamid's efforts once more brought him high respect from both the scientists and the industrial community. His name is engraved on board of Cassini-Huygens, a fitting tribute to his working life dedicated to conquering the frontiers of space. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to science, Hamid had recently the honour to receive from NASA's Director General, the highest award given to foreigners: "NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for Outstanding Leadership"
Read below: a personal contribution from a friend of Hamid. "To a departed friend"