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Al Mansoori creates history, becomes first Emirati to go to space

BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan), September 25, 2019

It was a historic day for the UAE on Wednesday (September 25) as the country sent its first Emirati astronaut, Hazza Al Mansoori, to space aboard the Russian spacecraft Soyuz MS-15.

Announcing the successful launch, The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said the   UAE's mission to the International Space Station (ISS) took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5.57 pm UAE time.
 
Al Mansoori is being accompanied on the mission by Oleg Skripochka and Jessica Meir.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, who witnessed the launch live from MBRSC, dedicated this historic achievement to HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

"The achievement is a reminder of the historical contributions of Arabs to world knowledge and science, which are still being taught today in the world's largest universities and science institutes," stated Sheikh Hamdan.

The Crown Prince expressed his best wishes to astronaut Al Mansoori for the completion of the historic mission and the scientific experiments planned as part of it.

"The mission marks the beginning of a new era in which the UAE is emerging as an important player in the global scientific landscape. The country is set to enter a new stage of advanced scientific development that seeks to contribute to the future of mankind and improve the quality of human life," he added.

Sheikh Hamdan attributed the success of the mission to the exceptional support of the UAE’s leadership, which has given the country’s space aspirations the highest prominence.

"Our space projects and plans are part of efforts to create the foundations for a future in which the people of the UAE and region will enjoy great prosperity and progress," Sheikh Hamdan added.

The successful launch of the first flight of an Emirati astronaut, aboard the Soyuz MS15 spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, represents a major achievement for Arab and Islamic nations.

The accomplishment contributes to realising the dream of the father of the nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the vision of the leadership to make the country a leading player in shaping the world’s future.

The launch was attended by Dr Ahmad bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of UAE Space Agency; Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC; Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of MBRSC; and Salem Al Marri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, apart from senior officials and MBRSC team members.
Family members and relatives of Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s first two astronauts, also attended the event.

The UAE Astronaut Programme was launched in 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with the objective of training the first Emirati astronauts for various scientific missions in space.

In December the same year, Sheikh Mohammed posted a tweet inviting young Emiratis to register for the UAE Astronaut Programme through the MBRSC. Hazzaa and Sultan responded to the invitation, along with 4,020 applicants.

A special committee then shortlisted over 200 candidates who underwent a series of internationally benchmarked psychometric tests. Following the initial selection phase, 95 candidates were shortlisted.

These candidates underwent medical and psychological tests conducted by experts from the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre at the Etihad Airways Medical Centre.

On September 3, 2018, the UAE picked Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi for the big mission.

Over the course of a year, the astronauts underwent more than 90 courses and over 1,400 hours of training. The trainings were conducted under partnership agreements with major space agencies, Nasa, ESA, JAXA, and Roscosmos in Moscow, Dubai, Houston and Cologne.-TradeArabia News Service




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