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Video: UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori lifts off to space

Video: UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori lifts off to space

Al Mansoori will spend eight days on board the ISS

The UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori successfully took off to space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft on Wednesday evening.

Al Mansoori is part of a three-person mission including Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir. He is serving as a second flight engineer on the mission.

The expedition later arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), where they were welcomed by the six astronauts currently at the station.

Al Mansoori will stay for eight days at the ISS and is set to return to earth on October 3.

Following the successful launch of the spacecraft, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid tweeted his congratulations.

“Hazza Al Mansouri’s arrival in space is a message for all Arab youths that we can move forward and advance and catch up with others.”

In going to the ISS, Al Mansoori, 36, is set to become the first Emirati in space. During the mission, Al Mansoori, who was born in Abu Dhabi and is also a military pilot, will conduct experiments related to the effects of microgravity on the human body and carry 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.

Hours before the launch, Al Mansoori took to Twitter to say “I carry the dreams and ambition of my country to a whole new dimension”.

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

As part of his personal items luggage allowance, Al Mansoori has taken 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.

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

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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