Dubai: Scores of UAE residents had their eyes glued to the television as they watched the historic moment Hazzaa Al Mansoori became the first Emirati astronaut in space.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) arrived at the venue on Wednesday afternoon to watch the UAE Mission 1 to the International Space Station (ISS).
In a video posted later that night, Sheikh Hamdan revealed the whereabouts of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during Hazza’s takeoff.
Much to the delight of social media users, which racked up over 460,000 views in 10 hours, residents watched Sheikh Mohammed in a helmet and cycling gear as he stopped on a cycling track in the desert to watch Hazza begin his eight-day mission on the ISS.
Hazzaa has now become the first Arab astronaut to enter the multinational space station and only the third Arab in space after Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz in 1985, and Syria’s Mohammad Faris in 1987.
Sheikh Hamdan, who witnessed the launch live from MBRSC, dedicated this momentous achievement to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.