Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Friday called UAE's first astronaut, Hazzaa AlMansoori, as the latter held a question and answer session with UAE nationals on the second day of his stay onboard the International Space Station.
Speaking from the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre, the UAE Vice President described AlMansoori's launch to the ISS as "only a first bold step into space for UAE."
"You're a source of pride for all Emiratis. You're the first (Emirati to launch into space) and the first is always remembered. However, I can proudly assure you that a generation of young Emiratis will follow in your footsteps and become space scientists and technology pioneers," Sheikh Mohammad told AlMansoori.
He expressed profound pride of this milestone, which, he said, "translates late Sheikh Zayed's dream into reality."
"Shaikh Zayed always dreamt of launching from desert into space. He was always bent on inviting scientists and space experts to visit the UAE for discussions and knowledge sharing about latest space finds and breakthroughs," Shaikh Mohammad added.
'What sets the UAE apart is our determination to turn dreams into achievements. The impossible is nothing for us; it's just a word thrown around by small men," Shaikh Mohammad asserted.
"All are dreaming. But we work hard to make our dreams come true. Our next station is Mars through the Hope Probe. I and my brother Mohamed Bin Zayed believe in our ability to achieve this. Some around us think it's impossible. But the impossible is just a word thrown around by the weak."
AlMansoori assured Sheikh Mohammed on the progress of his experiments onboard the ISS, saying all is going well as per schedule. He reviewed part of the experiments he has been working on since his arrival early Thursday till the moment.
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Sheikh Mohammed asked Hazza about his feeling when the rocket was carrying him to space.
"It was indescribable. I was so proud. Thanks to Allah and thank you Shaikh Mohammad, we have achieved Sheikh Zayed's dream," Hazzaa replied, conveying his sincere thanks and feeling of gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for the great support he's been receiving from the UAE leadership who, he said, is a role model for providing youth will all potential and tools to lead and pioneer in various fields.
Al Mansoori expressed pride of being the first Arab speaking to the world in Arabic onboard the ISS, voicing hope the experiments he and his crew are conducting would prove useful to humanity at large.