Dubai

A week before his launch to the International Space Station as its first Emirati and Arab resident, astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori planted a tree at the Cosmonaut Grove in Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The tree planting activity was part of the pre-launch activities before the mission that will launch an international crew including Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir.

The astronaut tradition of planting trees began in 1961 when Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, planted a tree before his historic April flight onboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. From then on, it has become a practice for first-time astronauts to plant trees at the grove before their flight.

Earlier in the day, Hazza and the other astronauts, including backup Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his colleagues Sergey Ryzhikov from Roscosmos and Thomas Marshburn from Nasa, took part in the Manual Convergence Training and onboard documentation on the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft that will launch them to space.

The crew members also had a sports game before preparing for they did a preparation for impact of space flight factors, underwent vestibular training on the rotating chair to check their balance and addressed the media in a press conference.