UAE Leaders Celebrate Remarkable Achievement
Updated on 26 September 2019

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 witnessed the successful launch of the International Space Station mission carrying Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the first ever Emirati astronaut to go into space. The event that has cemented a strong foundation for Arab youth for future achievements in space exploration started to take shape back in April 2017 when the UAE Astronaut Programme was launched, and young Emiratis were invited to register for the UAE Astronaut Programme through the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

On 3 September 2018, the UAE announced the names of the first two Emirati astronauts, Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, who were selected out of more than 4,000 applicants, and were chosen based on a number of assessments including the applicants’ intelligence (IQ) score, emotional stability, adaptability and many more competencies

The preparations for this mission began in September 2018, with extensive training for Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi. Over the course of one year, the astronauts underwent more than 90 courses, with the total number of training hours for astronauts exceeding 1,400 hours. Besides technical courses, the two astronauts were trained to perform daily tasks such as preparing food, how to use the camera to document events such as taking pictures of the Earth, communicating with the ground stations, and other day-to-day tasks that are necessary to be performed during the mission.

On Wednesday 25 September at 5.56pm Hazzaa Al Mansoori became the first Emirati astronaut to go into space. The mission will see Al Mansoori journey to the International Space Station (ISS) for eight days, returning to earth on 3 October.

Here’s what UAE leaders have said about this historic event

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of the Dubai said through his Twitter account  “Hazza Al Mansouri's entry to space sends a message to Arab youth that we can march forward, that we can keep pace with the rest of the world. Our next station is Mars through the Hope Probe, competently designed by our Emirati youth.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces tweeted “I proudly watched as Hazza Al Mansouri lifted off into space. This event strengthens our confidence in our youth who will take our nation to new heights and reinforces our ambitions for the future. We pray for Hazza’s success and his safe return home."

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, also tweeted "Hazzaa Al Mansoori is an Emirati man who embodies the Arab world’s hope for a better tomorrow. He is a portrait of the UAE’s achievements, which will continue to remain a beacon that illuminates our paths towards this hope.”

Hailing this massive achievement His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency said, “Our country has taken a giant step towards implementing the vision of our leadership. This mission reflects the ability of Emiratis to undertake ambitious missions that support the global effort to create a better future for humanity and develop solutions for current and future challenges.”

His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC said “A few moments ago, we watched  Hazzaa Al Mansoori travel to space, inaugurating a new era of achievements for our beloved country, the United Arab Emirates. We are filled with pride and joy for witnessing this historic event. But we also pray for Hazzaa Al Mansoori's safe arrival to the place that he worked hard to reach, along with an Emirati team and local and international partners. Today, we see the effort of the entire team in implementing the vision of our wise leadership on ground”.

His Excellency Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of MBRSC said “25th of September 2019 will remain a turning point in the history of the UAE, and a day of pride for every Arab and Emirati living in the UAE. Today, we see a dream that began in the 1970s, turning into a reality, with ‘Zayed’s Ambition’, aboard the rocket that was launched today."

Salem Al Marri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, said “The success of the launch was the result of strategic partnerships with major global space agencies, including the Russian Roscosmos, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the US Space Agency (NASA), as part of the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership to prepare Emirati cadres to make further achievements in the space research, space science, and the space industry as a whole”.

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