High above us, watching 16 sunrises a day, Hazzaa Al Mansoori is floating freely in the International Space Station, the first astronaut from the UAE in space. This is truly a magical time for this homeland as Al Mansoori takes a very proud nation boldly where it has never gone before. As we celebrate the achievements of having an astronaut in orbit, it’s worth reflecting on how far we have come and, more importantly, how far this nation will venture into that final frontier.
From its very earliest days, the UAE has always adopted a can-do attitude. Problems are there to be solved, solutions are there to be found, innovation and thinking outside the box are the norm. When the UAE said it wanted to invest in education to ensure the best learning, to produce the brightest young generations, it has succeeded — and continues to invest and secure facilities that result in progressive thinking, practical technologies, innovation and scientific advancement. And the UAE space programme — with Al Mansoori being the first in orbit — has already celebrated the milestone of having UAE-designed and built satellites in space.
This is a first for the Arab world, and the UAE stands tall among its brothers in reaching for the stars and being at the very vanguard of an elite group of nations in space exploration and research. This country has shown that it is a place full of potential, where dreams can be achieved, where tomorrow’s potential can be realised today. It is the UAE’s soft power showing the way.
For centuries, the Arab world was the cradle of scientific, astronomical and mathematic research and knowledge. In this century, the UAE is restoring that reputation, leading the way for our Arab brothers to follow by investing in people, in learning, in sciences and technology, in making the world a better place, and in breaking free of our earthly bonds.
As we celebrate the achievements of having an astronaut in orbit, it’s worth reflecting on how far we have come and, more importantly, how far this nation will venture into that final frontier
Yes, the UAE now has its sights set on Mars, or colonising the red planet, of establishing a new community of harmony, tolerance and scientific achievement there. Today it is a dream — but today’s dreams become tomorrow’s reality in the UAE.
Two years ago, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, vowed to send an Emirati astronaut to the space station. That has happened. Now it’s on to the next stop — Mars.