22 May 2015. Yesterday we had the profoundly shocking news that Harald Posch has died. We do not want to believe it, we cannot believe it, yet it is sadly, sadly true! Harald was so robust, so strong, so calm - his passing appears impossible.
Of course, Harald was much more than just a pillar of strength! His keen intelligence was immediately obvious, as was his great humanity and friendly attitude. His conscientiousness was legendary, blotting out much personal comfort and many other interests. Getting the job done in a supremely professional manner was Harald’s guiding star, and he followed that star even when the personal cost was great.
Harald’s abilities led him to the position as the head of the Austrian Space Agency, to the chairmanship of the ESA Council and to so many other posts of trust and responsibility. The space community understood early on what a resource Harald was, and the space community has been richly gifted by Harald’s ever-present readiness to help! For ESPI Harald was the indispensable friend and supporter. Harald was the Chairman of ESPI’s General Assembly from the birth of ESPI until now. Harald could rally the troops, always had the soundest advice, always guided with personal warmth and deep understanding not only of the professional issues but also the personal ones. It is safe to say that the strengths of ESPI were built on the foundation of Harald’s support and guidance! For this we will always be grateful. Harald’s death leaves a hole that can never be completely filled!
Capturing the man in full requires more than just praising professional accomplishments. Everybody who knew Harald will have stories on Harald’s sense of humour, of shared adventure, of the intellectual curiosity, of camaradie, of how Harald could combine humility with authority. And if you knew him well you would have had glimpses of the private universe so dear and important to him. Harald had the deepest roots in his local environment in Wiener Neustadt, they nurtured him whilst he pursued his globetrotting endeavours.
Combining the best of the local with the best of the European and the global is no simple feat. For Harald it came naturally, as did his combination of stature and approachability, of the robust and the sensitive, of great intelligence and common sense, of professionalism and the celebration of the private.
Harald cannot be replaced for his family, for those of us fortunate enough to be his friends, for all those who have benefitted from his professional excellence and wonderful personality. We are grateful for having known Harald and we mourn so deeply his passing! Our thoughts are with his wife, son and family who have suffered the most terrible loss so prematurely!
Rest in peace, dear friend!


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