Dubai: What does a 43-year-old dream becoming a reality look like?
Well, this composite image says it all.
The photo was taken at the hero’s welcome for the first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori at the Presidential Airport in Al Bateen on Saturday afternoon.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received Hazzaa, reserve astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, and the team behind the UAE Astronaut Programme as they returned from Moscow, Russia.
The bottom photo showed Shaikh Mohammad as he sat down listening to Hazzaa recount his memorable experience as the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft lifted off to space on September 25. The historic trip made him the first Emirati and Arab on the International Space Station.
The photo became more iconic when Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) officials juxtaposed it with the 1976 photo that launched the UAE’s dream to space.
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow — the ambitions of our late founding father will continue to drive and inspire generations to come.
In a tweet, Dubai Media Office said: “Mohammed Bin Zayed receives Astro Hazzaa and Astro Sultan after Hazzaa’s historic space mission. MBRSC creates a photo composite of this moment alongside an image from 1976 when Sheikh Zayed met with US astronauts and members of the Apollo space programme.”
The dream only took one generation to become a reality, proof that in the UAE, anything is possible for its people.
Explaining the inspiration behind the image, MBRSC tweeted: “In 1976, Zayed’s ambition for the UAE to embrace space was born. Today, his son, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, welcomed home the first Emirati Astronaut and the team behind him who helped make that dream come to life.”
“Yesterday, today, and tomorrow - the ambitions of our late founding father will continue to drive and inspire generations to come,” the centre added.
Hazzaa responded on Sunday: “Yesterday, we witnessed the achievements of the world. Today, the world celebrates our achievements. Today, Zayed’s ambition is creating new history.”
But it is not only Sheikh Zayed’s dream that came true, Hazzaa’s did as well. For him, the 1976 photo was the same image that inspired him to become an astronaut as a young boy. Now, he dreams that the next generation would follow suit.