Moscow: Jury members for Thursday and Friday’s final exams ahead of September 25’s mission to the International Space Station (ISS) have lauded Emirati prime astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri and reserve astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi for their performance last week.
Hazza will make history this month for being the first Emirati in space. He completed his final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) in Star City, Moscow with crew mates led by Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir.
Sultan also finished the exam with fellow reserve crew led by Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Nasa astronaut Thomas Marshburn.
The tests lasted over six hours per day as each crew was examined separately.
Examinations included how the astronauts would deal with different emergency situations, in mock ups of the ISS and Soyuz spacecraft.
Final tests simulated a number of emergency situations during take-off, landing, and docking, while on board the ISS, in addition to dealing with the false operation of the landing sensor, propulsion system problems, interruption of contact, and increased CO2 while aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.
In the emergency simulation of the Russian segment of the ISS, astronauts successfully passed the test of the failure of communications device, the oxygen supply system, power outages, the failure of fire detection systems, and how to deal with emergency situations.
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), said, “We are proud of Al Mansouri and Al Neyadi’s success in the final tests, as it confirms that the Emirati people are worthy of the UAE’s wise leadership belief in their ability to succeed in facing challenges in different sectors and disciplines. Our mission is to ensure that the UAE Astronaut Programme is a sustainable one and we aim to train and prepare more Emirati astronauts to contribute to the enrichment of the Arab region, as well as the global scientific community.
“The ISS mission will pave the way for more human space flights by the UAE, which will significantly contribute to developing a future map to explore deep space.”
Salem Al Merri, Assistant Director-General for Science and Technology Sector and Head of UAE Astronaut Programme, earlier told Gulf News that the results of the final exams will be revealed on Thursday in a briefing with the astronauts and a press conference.
He said the tests are a culmination of their training at GCTC since the start of the UAE Astronaut Programme.
“These tests have confirmed their readiness for the mission and for emergency situations during the take-off and return trips, and aboard the ISS. The jury members applauded the professionalism, the solid theoretical knowledge, and practical skills, possessed by both the main and the backup crew of the mission,” Al Merri said.
Following the announcement on Thursday, September 5, the crew will proceed with the scheduled activities that astronauts do as per tradition before their trip to space. This includes paying homage to the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, by offering flowers at his pedestal.
A farewell ceremony will be held on September 10 as the prime crew and reserve crew travel to Baikonur Cosmodrome in preparation for the launch. The two teams will be flown to Kazakhstan on separate planes.
There, a tree planting and flag raising ceremony will be held followed by a number of fit checks and a two-week quarantine before they blast off to space.