Former F16 Military pilot Hazza Al Mansouri became the first Emirati to go to space yesterday when he took off in the Soyuz MS15 rocket from Khazakstan. His mission, to conduct experiments on the human body and cell growth in microgravity, as well as introducing his crew members to Emirati culture and cuisine will take place over the next eight day.
This, though, is the moment that the first Emirati man left the confines of his rocket and came aboard the International Space Station, to be greeted by fellow astronauts.
He is greeted with hugs and cheers as the hatch is opened and history is made. It will no doubt have been a good time to try out the Russian he has learned over the last year, studying at the Yuri Gargarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow.
Accompanying him on his eight day mission is 10 kilos of UAE artefacts including the country’s flag and logos, seeds from the Al Ghaf tree and a photo of UAE Founding Father Sheikh Zayed with astronauts, taken in 1976.
And as for food, Hazza will be introducing his fellow astronauts to Emirati cuisine with a specially prepared set of dishes, packed by Russian company Glavkosmos in collaboration with the Space Food Laboratory. Dishes include balaleet (vermicelli with egg omelet), saloona (lamb) and madhrooba (chicken).
After seeing 16 sunrises a day over the next eight days, Hazza will touch down on earth again at precisely 4.48pm UAE time on 3 October. He left the envy of the Emirati and will return a hero.