Countdown begins to landmark space mission - GulfToday

Countdown begins to landmark space mission


Astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori posted a picture of his training with Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and US astronaut Jessica Meir on his Instagram account.

With just 10 days left before the much-anticipated launch of the multinational mission to ISS, Emirati astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi are limbering up, in right earnest, for the groundbreaking event. Hazzaa Al Mansoori will be the first Emirati – and the first Arab – astronaut in space, marking a spectacular milestone in the UAE’s achievements, a glorious, befitting tribute to the painstaking endeavour of all those involved in this landmark laurel. The launch will be a commendable realisation of the dreams of the founding father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Upon his arrival at the ISS, the UAE will become the 38th country to send someone to space.

The UAE will send its first astronaut into space on Wednesday, September 25. Hazza Al Mansouri will board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before blasting off into space. A former military pilot, he will spend eight days at the International Space Station where he will carry out scientific experiments. He will return to earth on Oct.3 at 4.48pm UAE time.

The two astronauts have been undergoing rigorous fitness tests, including spending several days out in freezing temperatures in the snow.

They also conducted several tests to ensure the readiness of the Sokol spacesuit.

Earlier, the astronauts raised the UAE flag during a flag-raising ceremony held in Baikonur for the countries participating in the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, including the UAE, Russia, and the United States.

The main crew includes Al Mansoori, Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and US astronaut Jessica Meir. The backup crew is composed of Dr Al Neyadi, Russian flight commander of Roscosmos Sergei Ryzhikov, and US Nasa astronaut Thomas Henry.

Al Mansoori will host a food night for crew mates on board the ISS — offering canned and liquefied versions of the nation’s best-loved dishes.

In the two weeks before the mission, the prime and backup crews will be confined to a containment area and denied access to the outside world. This will be for their safety and that of the other astronauts in the ISS.

Al Mansoori will be carrying with him on the spacecraft items related to UAE’s heritage, culture and history, including the country’s flag, ghaf tree seeds, a photograph of Sheikh Zayed, and a copy of My Story, by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

MBRSC will have a dedicated space in the centre’s headquarters to follow the launch to the ISS and the return to Earth. MBRSC will also broadcast Al Mansoori’s mission through a number of live sessions, some of which will be sound and picture and others sound only.


Meanwhile, KhalifaSat took a high-resolution satellite image of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi are currently spending time in quarantine. Al Mansoori, the first Emirati astronaut, is set to travel from Baikonur Cosmodrome, to the International space Station (ISS), on Sept.25.

Both astronauts arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sept.10 and conducted several tests to ensure the readiness of the Sokol space suit, which they would wear inside the Soyuz spacecraft, during the launch trip to the ISS and the return trip from the ISS back to Earth. They also conducted the first fit-check of the Soyuz MS-15 to ensure that the devices, equipment, and payload, were in place, and to record any observations for the engineers responsible for the spacecraft.

KhalifaSat was fully developed at MBRSC facilities by Emirati engineers and was launched to space in October 2018. It has 5 patents and seven space innovations, making it the most advanced satellite of its category in the world. KhalifaSat provides images with specifications that meet the highest international standards in space images.

These high-resolution detailed images help organisations in government and private sectors get accurate data which allow them to monitor environmental changes, detect the effects of global warming, ensure responsible urban planning and management, and aid relief efforts at times of natural disasters. This will contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals and improve the quality of life.

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