Baikonur: The team behind UAE Mission 1 to make Hazza Al Mansoori the first Emirati in space and the first Arab on the International Space Station (ISS) shared their reactions in a short 42-second video released on Thursday night.
Hazzaa took off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan at 5.57pm on Wednesday then docked at the ISS at 11.42pm before the hatch was opened at 2.15am on Thursday morning.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and director-general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), said, “We are proud of Hazzaa Al Mansoori and we wish him all the luck inshallah when he come back from a safe flight.”
The UAE is able to train and send astronauts to space through the help and funding from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Fund of TRA.
“Hazzaa is now in space,” said Salem Al Merri, Assistant Director-General of the MBRSC and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme.
“He’s officially the first Emirati to enter space. And our team was a big part of making that happen. So we’re happy, excited and I look forward to the next steps.”
Mariam Al Zarouni, Head of the Studies Unit at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: “It’s such an overwhelming feeling. It was amazing to see the rocket launch, to know that Hazzaa’s onboard after all this time.”
Aisha Al Zaabi, also from MBRSC, said with a smile: “It’s amazing! Like one of the craziest things that I’ve seen.”
The video showed the MBRSC team signing a memorial board with the UAE Mission 1 patch at the centre. Among those who signed was backup astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi. The whole team also posed for pictures holding a banner with the words ‘The First Emirati astroanut launches to the International Space Station.
Hazzaa will stay on the ISS for eight days to conduct 16 scientific experiments, take the Arab world on a virtual tour of the ISS in Arabic, and treat his space colleagues to a traditional Emirati night.
He will return to Earth on October 3.