After completing his famous 1981 Soyuz 40 joint space mission with fellow cosmonaut Leonid Popov, Prunariu received Golden Star; Hero of the Soviet Union; Order of Lenin; and Hero of the Socialist Republic of Romania honors.
After earning an Aerospace Engineering degree from the Politehnica University of Bucharest, he trained as a Romanian Air Force officer. He joined the Soviet Interkosmos space program in 1978.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he served as President of the Romanian Space Agency.
His marriage to Crina Prunariu produced two children.
He and Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov both participated in Soyuz space missions.