First Emirati in space says excited about trip to ISS

United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri said on Thursday (September 5) he was proud to be the first Emirati to travel to space and to represent his country and the whole Arab region at the International Space Station.

Al Mansouri, together with other members of 61/62 ISS expedition, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, is expected to blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 25 for 187 days-long mission.

During the last news conference ahead of the crew’s departure to Baikonur, NASA’s Jessica Meir praised the team she will work with on the ground and in space, saying the crew has a busy schedule ahead.

The first UAE astronaut, Al Mansouri said he was excited about the launch, and promised he would try to capture every second of it, so he can share it later with his compatriots and the world.

“I think what we will experience as astronauts and a cosmonaut, what you feel and what you experience during our mission is important that you share it with the next generation, to keep that motivation and this spark of love for space”, Al Mansouri said during the crew’s news conference in the cosmonauts’ training centre in Star City, named after Russian first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.

Russian cosmonaut and ISS mission commander Oleg Skripochka praised Al Mansouri’s professionalism and level of knowledge, saying it was “higher than it is formally necessary” for a participant of a space flight.

(Production: Mikhail Antonov, Maria Stromova)

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