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Hazzaa Al Mansoori with other astronauts at the space station. Image Credit:

Baikonur: The UAE will finally be able to ask their hero Hazzaa Al Mansoori a question from 12.30pm on Friday in the Emirati astronaut’s first televised link-up with the public since he boarded the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday morning.

The session for school children, individuals and groups who pre-registered can attend the live link up at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Al Khawaneej where they will get the chance to ask Al Mansoori about what life is like on the ISS.

Al Mansoori became the first Emirati in space and the first Arab aboard the ISS this week when he took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5.57pm on Wednesday along with Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and American astronaut Jessica Meir. Docking at the ISS some five hours and 45 minutes later at 11.42pm, it then took a further two hours for the Soyuz capsule that they had travelled 408-km in to match the same pressure as the ISS before they could open the hatch at 2.15am.

Eight hours after lift-off, the ISS crew stood by the hatch ready to welcome the three newcomers.

Oleg entered the station first followed by Jessica and lastly Hazzaa. The two groups exchanged hugs before Hazzaa could establish first contact with UAE space officials.

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“We reached safely, thank God. Hello to all my people in the UAE,” said Hazzaa.

The crew, now nine in all, had a group photo with the new arrivals.

“Marhaba,” or hello, Hazzaa said with his thumbs up sign as he talked to Mission Control.

“I am so happy to hear your voices,” he said. “I wish I could share what I saw with you. Beautiful scenery of sunsets and sunrises, the Earth.

“I say hello to our leaders, our people and all the Arabs,” he added.

Now he will get to share what he saw fully in Friday’s address with the UAE public, and even those who didn’t pre-register or can’t attend the MBRSC link-up can pitch their questions via twitter using the #AskHazzaa hashtag.

The student with the most interesting question will be given the chance to ask Hazzaa the question live, an official told Gulf News of the session.

After boarding, Hazzaa and the rest of the crew were given water pouches to rehydrate.

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The schedules of astronauts onboard the space station are planned by ground control.

When Gulf News asked Hazzaa in an earlier interview what his first duty would be when he reached the ISS, he said it would be “to rest” as according to the schedule given to them.

Trips to space are no easy feat. The first nine minutes are the hardest, as the body goes through extreme stress as the spacecraft escapes the Earth’s gravitational pull.

Having complete rest helps astronauts recover for the next day as they start their mission.

All social media channels of MBRSC and Astronaut Hazzaa were quiet on what Hazzaa did on the first day, in order to give him time to rest.

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Meanwhile, after his virtual public appearance on Friday, Hazzaa will again speak to the UAE on two-way radio from 2pm to 3.30pm.

Three more live sessions are scheduled where Hazzaa will be seen on a screen on Sunday at 1.30pm to 3.30pm; Monday at 11.30am to 2.15pm and Tuesday at 3pm to 4.35pm.

As for experiments, Hazzaa will conduct science in space experiments, countermeasures, fluid dynamics in space experiments, time perception in microgravity, osteology, and cardiovector tests.

Live events hosted at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Al Khwaneej

1st Live Call and radio Call:

Sept. 27, Friday: 1pm to 4.30pm

Two-way Radio Communications

Sept. 28, Saturday: 1.30pm to 3.30pm

Live video calls:

Sept. 29, Sunday: 1.30pm to 3.30pm

Sept. 30, Monday: 11.30am to 2.15pm

Oct. 1, Tuesday: 3pm to 4.30pm

Landing:

Oct. 3, Thursday: 3pm to 4.30pm