Moscow: Emirati astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi laid flowers at the Kremlin Wall in Moscow’s Red Square on Thursday in honour of Russian space icons Yuri Gagarin and Sergei Korolev.
Gagarin was the first man in space and Korolev was the lead engineer who got him there. Both are interred in the Kremlin after their respective deaths in 1968 and 1966.
Al Mansouri will become the first Emirati in space on September 25 when he heads to the International Space Station (ISS), while Al Neyadi is the mission’s reserve astronaut.
Their trip to the Kremlin followed a tour of the Gagarin museum at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, where they viewed historic space artifacts and signed the visitor’s book in Gagarin’s office.
They also visited the ‘Oak Cosmos’, which was planted by Gagarin two days after his historic space flight - which made him the first man in space - back in 1961.
The prime crew, comprising of Al Mansouri, Roscosmos commander Oleg Skripochka and Nasa flight engineer Jessica Meir, will launch to the ISS from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan onboard the Soyuz MS-15 on September 25.
As well as the first Emirati in space, Al Mansouri will also be the first Arab onboard the ISS.
His mission is packed with experiments in cooperation with global space agencies, as well as experiments from the UAE school curriculum. Part of his mission is educational outreach in which he will be communicating to students live from the ISS and addressing their questions.