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Shamsa Al Mansouri, sister of Hazza Al Mansouri shares her feelings in Abu Dhabi before her brother takes flight to space. PHOTO ANWAR Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: In a historic and soulful moment, Hazza Al Mansouri, the first astronaut of the UAE, shot off to the International Space Station Wednesday evening, even as millions watched the live telecast all over the world.

In Abu Dhabi, a mammoth crowd of locals and expatriates gathered at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) to watch the landmark moment. The halls of Adnec were heavily packed with people chanting slogans when Hazza’s space shuttle lifted off.

The live streaming was displayed on a giant screen at Adnec where children and youth gathered in large numbers to watch the live show.

Speaking to Gulf News, Shamsa Al Mansouri, sister of Hazza, said, there is no word called impossible. “Anything is possible when a person is determined to achieve his goals. We all are extremely proud and excited for my brother that he is accomplishing his dreams. We all pray that he travels safely to space with God’s grace.”

Speaking to Gulf News after the blast off, Shaikha Al Maskari, chief innovation officer at UAE Space Agency, said, “Today’s flight to space is historic for the UAE. As the massive crowds gather here, it is worth recalling the achievements, efforts and vision of the Late Shaikh Zayed who laid the foundations (for the country’s success) decades ago. Today, these dreams have come true with the wise leadership of the country. When it comes to space innovation, this is just the beginning. We have many plans for the future and will continue to scale new heights.”