Moscow: The International Space Station (ISS) has a soft and adorable new recruit from the UAE and it will spend eight days in space with Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori.
Meet Suhail, a stuffed toy cum mascot of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
Suhail will hitch a ride to space with prime crew Hazza and expedition 61 Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir and Russian commander Oleg Skripochka on the Soyuz MS-15 rocket this September 25.
Reserve Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi excitedly shared the news of Suhail’s arrival in Moscow on Wednesday night.
“Suhail has arrived!” Sultan said in a tweet as he shared some photos.
"Suhail” is the Arabic name for Canopus, which is the brightest star in the Southern Hemisphere. It rises in the end of August and with it summer officially ends in the Arabian peninsula. Suhail will join @astro_hazzaa in his mission to the @Space_Station,” he added.
Hazza showed some love and retweeted the post on Wednesday night.
The arrival of Suhail is symbollic of the new season or new era that the UAE is entering with Hazza’s spaceflight to become the first Emirati and Arab on the ISS. It signals that Mission No. 1 is just the beginning.
The blue and white astro stuffed toy is part of the precious 10kg cargo that Hazza will be taking to the space station, along with the Quran, a copy of the Qissati, and his personal items.
Suhail won’t feel out of place in space, thankfully, as apart from the astronauts, he can find a friend in Earthie, the stuffed toy ISS’ crew describe as their “celestial buddy”.
The earth-looking stuffed toy reached the space station through the Space X Crew Dragon launch in March.
Since then, Earthie has won many hearts and has become a hit on social media every time astronauts would post a photo with it.