The beginning of the UAE‘s historic space journey is only a day away. On Wednesday, September 25, at 5:56pm the first Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori will be launched onboard the Soyuz Launch Vehicle, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Space Center in Kazakhstan, to board the International Space Station.
On Monday, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed forces phoned the Al Mansoori and the back-up astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi to learn about their final preparations and wish them luck on their mission. “Your historic expedition to the ISS ushers the United Arab Emirates in a monumental phase within its transformational development drive where the country is making unremitting efforts to achieve quantum leaps in areas of space at the hands of its youth,” said Sheikh Mohamed according to WAM.
Adding: “You’re embodying the hopes and ambitions of a nation that is steadfastly progressing, thanks to the visionary vision of our leaders, to fulfill our aspirations and achieve quantum supremacy across all fields. You both represent every Emirati and our nation is lucky to have cadres like yourselves.”
For their part, the two astronauts expressed their sincere gratitude to Sheikh Mohamed and the UAE leadership for their unwavering support.
“We are all proud of being representatives of our homeland on the International Space Station and raising the UAE flag onboard,” they said.
“This milestone represents reaping the fruits sown by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan when he once received foreign cosmonauts; the Founding Father was then getting the nation geared for a brighter future and now we are now following in his footsteps,” they added.
— Sumaya Al Hajeri (@SumayaAlHajeri) September 22, 2019
Elsewhere in Abu Dhabi, the excitement ahead of the historic space mission is building by the day. At the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Sunday, a person dressed as an astronaut was seen walking around the museum. Visitors spotted the astronaut posing with the museum’s artworks and took to social media to share the photos with the hashtag #FindTheAstronaut.
— 🇦🇪 حمد الحوسني (@Hahosani) September 22, 2019