Sultan Al Neyadi attends a training session.
Yamamah Bedwan, Staff Reporter
Hazza Al Mansoori, the first Emirati astronaut who is preparing to take off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Sept.25, said, “This mission is a great responsibility upon me, through which and the other future missions, I will do my best to help enrich science and knowledge with scientific experiments that will be conducted on the ISS in partnership with the competent teams from different countries.”
Some experiments were conducted in extremely cold areas, where temperatures go down to –50ºC and the astronauts had to live in a rudimentary way, relying on themselves for their food and drink.
In a report broadcast on “Sky News Arabia” through “The Morning Coffee” programme, on Tuesday, Al Mansoori said, “I am proud to represent the UAE and the Arab world in this historic mission, and to be the first Arab astronaut to reach the International Space Station.”
For his part, Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s alternative astronaut, said, “My colleague Hazza and I feel responsible, and we look forward to returning from this mission with fruitful expertise and information about space to motivate enthusiastic young people, and this is a call to them to think over the future.”
The report, which was prepared by Sultan Al Badi, the Sky News’ reporter in Moscow, explained the final preparations for the UAE’s astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, ahead of the spaceflight to the International Space Station, and the scientific consequences of the mission.
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Al Badi added that Hazza and Sultan were subject to the final tests, which lasted more than six hours continuously in a vehicle similar to the one which will fly to the ISS. They successfully passed the test with high scores. This was followed by a press conference to reveal all the details of the journey, with the participation of the main and alternative crew, where high morale and enthusiasm of both teams emerged. The report also talked about a Russian farewell ceremony held to pay tribute to the team in the city of Stars in the capital Moscow.
The reporter further talked about his experience of living with the two astronauts, saying, “Hazza and Sultan now represent the Arabs, especially after the absence of Arabs for more than 30 years from space, since the flight of the Syrian astronaut Mohammed Fares in 1987.”
As for their exercises, he explained that individuals generally see the take-off, and how they live in space, but what they do not see is the preparations before that. They are subject to long stages of training and preparations, where they have to complete at least 1,400 training hours, 96 courses.
He continued, “Hazza and Sultan have completed all the exercises in the Russian and European space agencies, as most of the exercises focused on fitness and psychological factor. Among these exercises is placing astronauts in an isolated room for three days, without any connection with anyone, to monitor their psychological condition and their reaction after the end of this exercise.”
During this mission, in which Hazza Al Mansoori will represent Arabs, 16 scientific experiments will be conducted for the first time on an Arab man, such as physical effects on the Arab human body in space and bone efficiency in a zero-gravity region. The results will contribute to new studies and development in science and health.
There will be protocol activities to start on Sept.22 in Baikonur, while the actual take-off of Russian Soyuz spacecraft MS15 will be at 5.46pm according to UAE local time.
Hazza Al Mansoori on Tuesday published a picture story on his Instagram account for the Astronauts Park in Baikonur. He wrote a comment saying, “The 7th day in Baikonur.” The comment refers to the number of days of his presence in Baikonur, which is the last stage before taking off.
He also published another showing a plate fixed to a trunk of a tree, bearing the name of the first astronaut in the world and commented, “The Astronauts Park in Baikonur, where astronauts plant a tree before their first trip . This is a tradition initiated by the first astronaut Yuri Gagarin, and I will plant a tree here in this park, before taking off.”
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