Mohammed Bin Rashid and Mohamed Bin Zayed
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Image Credit: Twitter

Abu Dhabi: The UAE turned a new chapter in its history on Wednesday, with the sending of its first astronaut into space.

The groundbreaking achievement marks a milestone in the country’s pursuit of space exploration and future making. This red-letter day comes just two years after the launch of the UAE’s first Astronaut programme, dedicated to selecting and training four Emirati Astronauts on various space missions heading to the International Space Station within the next five years.

The programme aims to develop a national team of astronauts that can achieve the country's aspirations in taking part in scientific and manned space exploration missions.

In 2014, the UAE launched the Hope Mars Mission, a space exploration probe mission to Mars, and is set for launch in 2020. Built by the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre,

On the day of announcement, Sheikh Mohammed said, "On this day, a new chapter in our history begins with the launch of the first UAE Astronaut Programme, dedicated to training and sending four Emirati Astronauts into space. The people of the UAE will break barriers, there is no power strong enough to stand in the way of those who believe nothing is impossible.”

“The arrival of the UAE’s first astronaut Hazaa Al Mansouri in space is a message to all Arab youth that we can make a progress and move forward. We can catch up with the others. Our next stop is Mars via the Hope probe, which is designed by our young people with competency,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.

“More than two years ago, since my brother Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed and I launched the UAE Astronaut Programme. Today, we celebrate the launch of the first Emirati astronaut on a historic mission to the International Space Station... an Emirati achievement that we are proud of and we dedicate to the Arab and Islamic nations.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed

“I proudly watched as Hazza Al Mansouri lifted off into space. This event strengthens our confidence in our youth who will take our nation to new heights and reinforces our ambitions for the future. We pray for Hazza’s success and his safe return home,” His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, tweeted.

Mission marks new beginning

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, who witnessed the launch live from MBRSC, dedicated this historic achievement to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He said the achievement is a reminder of the historical contributions of Arabs to world knowledge and science, which are still being taught today in the world's largest universities and science institutes.

Sheikh Hamdan expressed his best wishes to the astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri for the completion of the historic mission and the scientific experiments planned as part of it. The mission marks the beginning of a new era in which the UAE is emerging as an important player in the global scientific landscape. The country is set to enter a new stage of advanced scientific development that seeks to contribute to the future of mankind and improve the quality of human life, he said.