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Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri returns to UAE after historic space visit

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri returns to UAE after historic space visit

Al Mansoori became the first Arab to visit the International Space Station (ISS)

The UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri returned to the country on Saturday after becoming the first Arab to reach the International Space Station (ISS).

Al Mansoori, 35, backup UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, 38, as well as the team from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre were received at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen airport by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

He was welcomed with traditional dance and music as well as a colourful display over the skies by the UAE’s airforce.

Upon his landing, Al Mansouri presented Sheikh Mohamed the UAE flag he took to the ISS.

“The great spirit and vigour displayed by Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi throughout this journey has done the UAE and its people proud. We are proud of them and all ambitious UAE youth who dream big,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.

“All thanks and appreciation to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the UAE team of engineers, technicians and others, who contributed to the success of this remarkable journey inspiring our youth to contribute for the good of the nation.”

Al Mansoori, who spent eight days at the ISS conducting several experiments, returned to Earth on October 3 and underwent testing in Russia before his return to the UAE.

“We have collaborated with Roscosmos, NASA, Jaxa, and ESA for this mission. This truly has been an international collaboration and I am humbled to have been part of this. To the next Emirati Astronaut,” he said on Twitter before departing from Russia.

During his time in space, Al Mansoori completed approximately 128 orbits around the Earth and travelled an 3,394,335 miles, according to NASA.

The former military pilot conducted several experiments including a time perception study while onboard the ISS and also held live conversations with students and other groups at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre.

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