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Hazzaa AlMansoori during their pre-flight press conference at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia. Picture: Screengrab from Presscon Image Credit:

Dubai: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre confirmed that Hazzaa AlMansoori’s return to the UAE is scheduled for Saturday, October 12. 

AlMansoori along with Sultan AlNeyadi will be back to the UAE accompanied with MBRSC Chairman, Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, and the Director General Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani.

Before leaving Russia on Saturday afternoon, a grateful Hazzaa extended his gratitude to everyone who has been part of his mission.

He said in a tweet: "Zayed’s Ambition lives on... I will be returning home from Moscow in a few hours."

"I would like to thank this city, its people, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City and the Roscosmos team who trained and prepared me to become the first Emirati astronaut."

He also acknowledge MBRSC's international partners for UAE Mission 1, before passing the baton to the next Emirati astronaut.

"We have collaborated with Roscosmos, NASA, Jaxa, and ESA for this mission. This truly has been an international collaboration and I am humbled to have been part of this. To the next Emirati Astronaut."

Upon return to Earth from his scientific mission aboard ISS, Hazzaa AlMansoori underwent medical check ups and tests at the GCTC. These medical tests were part of his scientific mission to study the effect of microgravity on human body. It was the first time that these experiments are performed on someone from the Arab region.

Hazzaa  ready for his next mission

Dubai: Ahead of his return to the UAE, the country’s first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori on Wednesday said he is ready for his next mission.

Hazzaa faced the media with Russian commander Alexey Ovchinin on Wednesday morning for their post-flight press conference from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) in Star City, Moscow, Russia.

The duo returned to Earth on October 3 with Nasa astronaut Nick Hague onboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft in Kazakhstan. Hague has since flown to the US while Ovchinin and Hazzaa have been at GCTC for their post-mission medical tests.

The first Emirati and Arab on the International Space Station (ISS) looked fit and refreshed during the conference. Answering questions in Russian, Arabic and English, Hazzaa said he had a worthwhile eight-day stay on the ISS.

“It was a really very good experience for me… I learned a lot during those eight days,” Hazzaa said. “Now, my mission is to transfer this this experience and the whole knowledge I got from the training here in Star City and onboard the station to the next person. And I hope he will do it better than me.”

Knowledge transfer has always been a strategy employed by Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to ensure the sustainability of their programmes. It was in 2006 when MBRSC first sent its team of engineers to South Korea to learn how to build satellites. In just 12 years, the centre was able to successfully launch its own 100-per cent Emirati made earth observation satellite.

With his experience and his training, Hazzaa aims to do the same and transfer the know-how with the next UAE astronauts when he returns.

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Hazzaa AlMansoori during their pre-flight press conference at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia. Picture: Screengrab from Presscon

Adjusting to gravity

Asked how he has adjusted to life with gravity, Hazzaa said: “I’m feeling good. Everything is fine with me. Adaptation in space is really something new for humankind.”

“For me personally, I adapted in a good way and also after the flight, I had maybe normal symptoms. After two days, they vanished and I’m feeling well now. I can do all my daily activities in a normal way.”

When asked what he misses the most in space, he said he thought he had an answer to that but his perspective changed suddenly after leaving the space station.

“They asked me before [the launch] what I would miss the most when I come back from the station and at that time I told them I’d miss microgravity. But I remember when we undocked, the way I felt when I said goodbye to my friends onboard the station. So what I will miss most onboard the station is the crew—this mankind from different countries working together for mankind. This is what I will miss.”