Look: Sheikh Mohammed receives UAE flag that astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi took to space during historic mission

The Dubai Ruler praised the Emirati astronauts and the 'Zayed Ambition 2' team for their hard work and commitment to making the country a frontrunner in space exploration

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Photos: Dubai Media Office (X)
Photos: Dubai Media Office (X)

Published: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 7:29 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 11:16 PM

As he met the country's team of astronauts on Wednesday, the Ruler of Dubai received an out-of-this-world memento: A UAE flag that Sultan AlNeyadi flew to space and back.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, praised the Emirati astronauts and the rest of the 'Zayed Ambition 2' team for their hard work and commitment to making the country one of the frontrunners in space exploration.

“We value each accomplishment of our brightest minds in advancing the country’s journey towards progress and innovation," he said during the gathering held at Za’abeel Palace in Dubai. The special event came a day after the entire space team also met the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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Hazzaa AlMansoori and AlNeyadi, the Dubai Ruler said, were more than astronauts — they were role models that have been sparking youngsters' space dreams.

"The commitment of AlNeyadi and AlMansoori serves as an inspiring model for Emirati and Arab youth, as well as young people worldwide, striving to attain the highest levels of excellence in crucial fields that benefit humanity and shape a better future for the world," Sheikh Mohammed said.

AlNeyadi and AlMansoori took the opportunity to brief the Dubai Ruler on the outcomes of the longest Arab space mission — from the experiments and groundbreaking studies to the historic spacewalk.

As a token of appreciation for the Ruler's unwavering support, AlNeyadi presented Sheikh Mohammed with the UAE flag he carried to the International Space Station (ISS). It was a gesture that came just in time for the UAE Flag Day on November 3.

Next human spaceflight missions

The 'Zayed Ambition 2' team of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) also briefed the UAE Vice-President on the latest training programmes that astronauts Mohammad AlMulla and Nora Al Matrooshi are going through to prepare for future spaceflight missions.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, chairman of the MBRSC, thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for his full support, which has played a significant role in the achievements that have strengthened the UAE's global presence in the space sector.

“In alignment with the ever-changing dynamics of the space sector, we remain committed to nurturing our teams, promoting innovation, and paving the way for the next frontier," Al Mansoori said.

"Our goal is to establish a collaborative global platform for the exchange of knowledge and expertise. We will also continue to invest in missions, projects and initiatives that will set unparalleled standards in space science and exploration.”

Salem Humaid Al Marri, director-general of the MBRSC, said" “The mission undertaken by Al Neyadi, during which he spent six months aboard the ISS and conducted a series of important experiments, symbolises a monumental stride for the MBRSC, setting the precedent for what's next in our human spaceflight missions.

"We are resolute in our ambition to propel MBRSC's initiatives to even greater heights, shaping the future of space exploration and ensuring that innovation and discovery always stand at the forefront.”

The ‘Zayed Ambition 2’ mission was launched as part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme. During the mission, AlNeyadi devoted 600 hours to conduct 200 experiments on the ISS, which represent key contributions that further consolidate the nation’s legacy in the global space arena.

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