First astronaut from UAE blasts off for ISS alongside astronauts from US, Russia

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Hazzaa Al Mansoori made history on Wednesday, becoming the first Emirati astronaut to be deployed on a space mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Al Mansoori was launched on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Space Center in Kazakhstan.

Before takeoff Al Mansoori, a native of Abu Dhabi, asked God to grant him success in the mission.

“A few hours before launch and I’m filled with this indescribable feeling of glory and awe. Today I carry the dreams and ambition of my country to a whole new dimension,” Hazzaa Al Mansoori shared on Twitter.

The mission will take eight days, with Al Mansoori scheduled to land at the ISS on October 3. The landing will be livestreamed through YouTube and Dubai TV.

Once Al Mansoori reaches the ISS, he will conduct Earth observation and imaging, participate in the station’s ongoing scientific missions, and present a tour of the station in Arabic.

Al Mansoori, along with Sultan Al Neyadi, are the first batch of astronauts from the UAE Astronaut Programme, launched in April 2017 by Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The program’s mission is to train and prepare the first Emirati astronaut corps to be sent to space for various scientific missions.

Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi trained in Moscow for the mission for which Al Mansoori is the main astronaut and Sultan Al Neyadi is his back up.

Al Mansoori graduated from Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2004 and has 14 years of experience in military aviation.

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