UAE astronauts were dreamers since childhood - GulfToday

UAE astronauts were dreamers since childhood


Soyuz MS-15 crew members pose for a photograph.

Syed Shayaan Bakht, Staff Reporter

The prime crew continued their preflight preparations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The main crew include Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka (commander), NASA astronaut Jessica Meir (flight engineer) and space flight participant Hazzaa Al Mansouri (UAE).

The backup crew consists of Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn and space flight participant Sultan Al Neyadi (UAE).

Gulf Today looked into the background of the UAE crew members Hazzaa Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi. A father of four, graduate of Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College, Hazzaa Al Mansouri joined MBRSC as an astronaut following a career as military pilot. He hopes to inspire the nation by hoisting the UAE flag inside the ISS on September 25.

“It will be a great honour to be the first Emirati astronaut to reach the ISS.”, he said.

Al Mansouri’s dreams of space exploration started when he was still young.

“I remember when I was in grade four, I read in my school book about an Arab astronaut, Prince Sultan Bin Salman Al Saud, and I thought that is it. I believed it is possible for me too. That is the reason why I applied to join the air force, it felt a little bit closer to the stars.”, He says.

Al Mansouri became a military pilot and one of the most prominent flying the F-16. He is scheduled to stay 8 days on the ISS.

Sultan Al Neyadi, who holds a PhD in Information Technology Data Leakage Prevention from Griffith University, expresses his space ambitions saying, “I believe our amazing journey is just a continuation of what our ancestors started. They who studied the stars for centuries and gave them many Arabic names. When we explore space and raise the UAE flag on board the ISS, we are the nation’s ambassadors. We hope to accomplish this mission perfectly.”

The media representatives witnessed the training process at the test and training facility of Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre complex. The journalists have a unique opportunity to communicate with the cosmonauts and astronauts, ask questions and get their impressions before the “business trip” to Earth’s orbit.

The crews’ working day started with the Soyuz MS crewed vehicle manual berthing simulator training, after that they went on to studying the onboard documentation. The crews also took practice in spaceflight factors: vestibular tolerance in the Coriolis acceleration seat and haemodynamic training.

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