Soaring high - GulfToday

Soaring high

Hazzaa

Hazzaa Al Mansouri

It was a moment of great joy for all us in this country, to see Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori return to earth, after his successful space mission. His stay in space was brief but immensely historic not only the country but also for the UAE Space Agency, which now has its sights set on Mars (“UAE bursts with joy as Hazzaa returns from ISS,” Oct.4, Gulf Today).

Carrying the UAE flag in space the 35-year-old former military pilot’s whirlwind mission raised the bar for the young Emiratis who are keen on exploring the skies. For the past couple of days, the local and international space media outlets were agog with news and updates on Al Mansoori’s remarkable spaceflight. Thanks to the wide coverage we got a ringside view of life in space. And Al Mansoori’s local touch made it very interesting.

From donning the Emirati dress to sharing local food with his crew members at the ISS to participating in scientific experiments, the Emirati astronaut kept us glued to the continuous flow of news bulletins. What I enjoyed most was the image of UAE from space and his message was the cherry on the cake. “From the happiest astronaut to the happiest nation...this is history, this is the UAE from space.” It rightly described not only his mood, but that of the nation.

The UAE has announced its aim to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021, naming it “Hope”. I am sure they will achieve that milestone too. The success of Al Mansoori’s flight will add further impetus to the country’s space exploration. It is source of great pride for the nation to have made its foray into space. Keep it up, UAE.

K Sharif
By email