Video: First Emirati prepares to head to space on September 25
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Video: First Emirati prepares to head to space on September 25

Video: First Emirati prepares to head to space on September 25

Hazza Al Mansoori is prepping to go to the ISS

Gulf Business

The UAE’s first astronaut’s journey to the stars is under a month away.

Hazza Al Mansoori is set to blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as a second flight engineer aboard a Soyuz MS-15 as part of the S61 Expedition on September 25. The mission will take him to the International Space Station (ISS), aboard which he’ll orbit the globe until returning to earth on October 3.

In going to the ISS, Al Mansoori, 36, is set to become the first Emirati in space. If Al Mansoori, who was born in Abu Dhabi and is also a military pilot, is unable to go, another Emirati, Sultan Al Neyadi, will go in his place.

While in space, Al Mansoori will be conducting experiments related to the effects of microgravity on the human body and carrying out maintenance on the space station. He will also conduct experiments provided by 16 different schools across the UAE. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, in cooperation with the Emirates Amateur Radio Society, will also coordinate live sessions with Al Mansoori while he is aboard the ISS.

In preparing for the mission, Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi have undergone more than 1,400 training hours and taken more than 90 courses, run by the likes of NASA, the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, and more.

Prior to expected liftoff on September 25, Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi will be in quarantine at the so-called “Cosmonaut Hotel” in Baikonur for three weeks. The idea of the quarantine is so that astronauts do not catch any harmful diseases, bacteria or chemicals they could pass on to other astronauts or spread around the station that could damage the extremely sensitive environment.

Responsible for keeping Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi healthy will be Dr Hanan AlSuwaidi, who will serve as flight surgeon. To keep them fit and safe, she will collaborate with a team of international physicians.

As part of his personal items luggage allowance, Al Mansoori is set to take with him a copy of the Holy Quran, the book “My Story” (“Qissati” in Arabic) by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, a photograph of UAE founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan meeting three American astronauts in 1976, a silk UAE flag, 30 ghaf tree seeds, Emirati food, inflatable balls which represent Mars and Earth, and family photos.

Set to join Al Mansoori in space are American flight engineer Jessica Meir and Russian commander Oleg Skripochka.

Launched in 1998, the ISS is the largest human-made object ever sent into space, weighing in at more than 400 tonnes and measuring about 73 metres long by 108 metres wide by 20 metres high.

Floating about 400 kilometres above earth, it completes an entire orbit around the planet about every 92 minutes.

It can often be seen by the naked eye from earth.


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