NAT Hazza Al Mansouri-1573554838067
Hazzaa Al Mansouri with his three favourite books onboard the International Space Station last month Image Credit: MBRSC

Dubai: Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri has transcended science and gone mainstream with his inclusion in the Emirates Airline Literature Festival, according to an official.

The first Emirati in space following last month’s mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was announced in the line-up for the February 4-9 event on Tuesday.

“The role of an astronaut is to link science and technology and bring that into popular culture to educate and inspire and that’s exactly what he’s doing,” said Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme.

“If you look at what Nasa do, Hollywood produces movies about them and books are written about them, this is when I believe you become mainstream and everyone begins to understand the importance of space.

“We expected it to be big,” Al Marri added of Hazzaa’s mission, “But this is bigger than we expected, it’s gone global basically.”

MBRSC have released three books ‘The Race to Space’, ‘Mission to Mars’ and ‘Khalifa and Amal’, the latter is a children’s book and video of Hazzaa reading it while on the ISS last month will soon be released to further inspire the next generation.