First Emirati Astronaut to the ISS

All you need to know about the first UAE astronaut: Hazza Al Mansouri

In December 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai envisioned a dream of sending the first UAE astronaut into space. A little less than two years down the line, this vision was accomplished as UAE’s Hazza Al Mansouri made history and became the first Emirati astronaut to reach space.

This blog will present all the details about this galactic mission. So without further ado, take a look at the journey of Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati to go to space. 

ABOUT HAZZA AL MANSOURI, THE FIRST UAE ASTRONAUT

One of the most cherished and revered individuals in the UAE today is Hazza Al Mansouri. From phone companies to the general public, everyone is celebrating his historic achievement. UAE became the 19th country to visit the International Space Station (ISS) because of his incredible journey.

If we look at other Arab countries, only Muhammed Faris from Syria and the Saudi Prince Sultan Bin Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud have been to space. Their missions took place in the 1980s.

HOW WAS HAZZA AL MANSOURI SELECTED?

The first UAE astronaut is incidentally a former pilot. He was chosen for this mission ahead of hundreds of applicants. The process of his selection began in December 2017. A total of 4,022 candidates declared their interest to become part of this prestigious program and officials from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre oversaw the selection process. The candidates were first tested in the subjects of technology, science, math, physics and their knowledge of space.

Only 400 candidates could clear these preliminary tests. The second test brought down the number to 95. These individuals then went through medical testing and only 39 interested candidates made the cut. Subsequently, they were given a chance to showcase their personality, cognitive ability, aptitude and intelligence in interview sessions.

Eventually, from the 39 candidates, the top nine were assessed by Russian space experts. After almost two years of hard work and preparation, finally, in September 2018, two people were chosen, Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi (as Hazza’s back up).

Hazza Al Mansouri - the first UAE astronaut
Hazza Al Mansouri is the first Emirati Astronaut (Image Credit: Dubai Media Office)

The announcement was made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and he emphasised that the mission will raise the bar of ambitions for future generations.

Subsequently, the duo received training from international field experts. They were sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – NASA (US), Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (Russia) and the European Space Agency (Germany) for their training. In April, Hazza Al Mansouri was nominated as the man who would be the first Emirati astronaut and Sultan Al Neyadi was named as his back up.

They passed their final qualification exam on 2nd September 2019 before flying to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan where they prepared for the final launch set for 25 September 2019. Hazza Al Mansouri was at the ISS for eight days and returned back to earth on 3 October 2019. 

WHO ACCOMPANIED HAZZA AL MANSOURI IN HIS JOURNEY TO SPACE?

The first Emirati astronaut will be accompanied by Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir from Kazakhstan.

WHICH SPACECRAFT DID THE UAE SPACE TEAM FLY IN?

The selected spacecraft for this mission is a Russian Soyuz MS-15.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS MISSION?

In their eight-day mission, the team will conduct 15 experiments to study the impact of microgravity. These experiments were selected via the ‘Science in Space’ event held by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. Schools from UAE were involved in preparing for these experiments and students will conduct the same experiments on earth. After the mission, the results of both sets of experiments will be studied to understand the difference. Subscribe toSUBSCRIBE

Moreover, how Al Mansouri’s body reacts to being in space will be studied after the trip. This would be the first kind of research on an astronaut from this particular region.

WHAT DOES HAZZA AL MANSOURI HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE MISSION?

The First Emirati astronaut in space Hazza Al Mansouri has the following to say about the mission.

“It will be a great honour to be the first Emirati astronaut to reach the ISS. I applied for the program because I had a dream as a boy and our leaders encourage us to achieve our dreams.

By hoisting the flag of the UAE at ISS, he hopes to inspire a new generation of Emirati astronauts. 

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR UAE SPACE PROGRAM?

This UAE astronaut program is considered a foundation for future exploration. The plan of sending an unmanned mission to Mars is already in progress. The aim is to land the mission on Mars in the year 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the State. In short, it could be said that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre is striving each day to unveil the secrets of the universe.

Al Mansouri’s voyage is an important stepping stone for greater things for the UAE. The government is focused on providing opportunities to the young generation. So in future, we shall see many such as Hazza Al Mansouri explore the universe.

HAZZA AL MANSOORI’S TIME IN SPACE

Hazza Al Mansoori’s mission to space required him to conduct multiple experiments on the impact of microgravity. Here’s a look at some of the experiments he conducted at the ISS.

(Image credits: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center’s Twitter Page)

While on the space station, Hazza also shared some stunning images of how the UAE looks from space. 

The stunning picture of UAE from the ISS space station taken by Hazza (Image Credit: Hazza Al Manouri’s twitter page)

He also shared a picture of himself wearing the traditional Emirati Kandura in space. 

emirati kandura in space
Hazza Al Mansouri is the first astronaut to wear his traditional attire in space (Image credit: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center’s Twitter Page)

And finally, a selfie from space! 

Emirati astronaut selfie from space
The first Emirati astronaut’s selfie from space (Image credit: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center’s Twitter Page)

Congratulations Hazza on a successful mission! You’ve been an inspiration to all aspiring astronauts and have proven that anything is possible.

Going to space is not possible for all, but we got to see what it’s like through Hazza. This space mission is just been a stepping stone to ensuring an exciting  future for the UAE. 

 

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