Emirati astronauts raise UAE flag in Baikonur - GulfToday

Emirati astronauts raise UAE flag in Baikonur


Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi raise the UAE flag in Baikonur before taking it to space.

Emirati astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi raised the UAE flag during the flag-raising ceremony that was held for the countries participating in the mission – UAE, Russia, and US.

Oleg Skripochka and Jessica Meir, from the main crew, and Sergei Nikolaevich and Thomas Henry, from the back-up crew, also participated in the ceremony.

This is part of the pre-launch preparations for the mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sept.25, and as per the tradition of astronauts prior to launch, on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The main crew and the back-up crew also visited the Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum, which includes space equipment and miniature models of rockets that have launched to space. They also signed the wall of Sergei Korolev at the museum. Korolev was the lead Soviet rocket engineer, in the 1940s and 1950s.

Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi arrived in Baikonur on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they conducted several tests to ensure the readiness of the Sokol space suit, which they would wear inside the Soyuz spacecraft, during the launch trip to the ISS and the return trip from the ISS back to Earth.

Furthermore, the main crew and the back-up crew conducted the first fit-check of the Soyuz MS-15 to ensure that the devices, equipment, and payload, were in place, and to record any observations for the engineers responsible for the spacecraft.

In a telephone call with Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi, the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that they have brought great pride to the leadership and people of the UAE.

During the call, Sheikh Hamdan said the astronauts are the pride of the UAE and their efforts will help the country make a historic achievement in the space sector. “This historic voyage to the International Space Station will open the way for a new scientific revolution in the Arab world. The achievement will contribute to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to revive the Arab world’s glorious civilisation.”

Sheikh Hamdan thanked the astronauts and support teams for their dedication and commitment during the entire project.

The upcoming mission of Al Mansoori to ISS reflects the UAE’s overall progress, according to Madyar Menelikov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UAE.

He also expressed his pride at the launch of the mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

In an interview, Menelikov noted that the historic launch will be attended by senior officials from Kazakhstan.

“We would like to congratulate the UAE’s leadership, government and people on the occasion of this historic mission to the international space station,” he said, while noting the mutual cooperation between the two countries in the space sector and their future collaboration with Russia.

Regarding a joint committee meeting between the two countries to be hosted by Abu Dhabi, he noted, “We thank the UAE for hosting this meeting, where we shall discuss important cooperation topics between our friendly countries in many areas, including in commerce, the economy, investment, education, culture, renewable energy and space.”

“We are looking forward to more cooperation between our countries,” he added, while noting that the total value of Emirati foreign direct investments in Kazakhstan has reached $2 billion.

The mission is part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which is overseen by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). The UAE Astronaut Programme is the first integrated programme in the Arab region to prepare national cadres to participate in human space flights and carry out various scientific missions, in addition to becoming a part of the research carried out by the global scientific community to devise solutions to many challenges facing humanity.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the TRA. Launched in 2007, this fund, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims towards supporting research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE, helping it to grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world.

WAM / Agencies

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