UAE: AlNeyadi bestows 'Sultan of Space' title on colleague Hazzaa Al Mansoori

We thank God for his safe return, says the first Emirati to go to space

by

Nandini Sircar

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Sultan AlNeyadi with Hazzaa Al Mansoori and other officials. — Photo by Rahul Gajjar
Sultan AlNeyadi with Hazzaa Al Mansoori and other officials. — Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Published: Mon 18 Sep 2023, 10:31 PM

Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, who is widely known as the “Sultan of Space” has, in turn, bestowed this title upon his colleague, astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori.

He said: “I am honoured with the title of the Sultan of Space but I am deferring the title to Hazzaa because he was the first one to go to space.”


Sultan AlNeyadi said this during his first public appearance on Monday, in the UAE, shortly after his arrival in Abu Dhabi from Houston, Texas.

His return from a six-month mission on the International Space Station was met with a warm and enthusiastic reception in his homeland.


“My friend (Hazzaa) has raised the bar too high. So, I wanted to do as good as he did,” he added.

‘Don't die, don't kill anyone...'

He emphasised that they are ambassadors of the UAE in space so they needed to do everything perfectly. In response to a question about how important it was for him to represent Arabs and Emiratis through his mission, he said: “My other target was to show how committed we are. We have three targets in space,” he added with a twinkle in his eye: "Not to die, not to kill anybody (maintain the safety of the vehicle) and, lastly, maintain the science. I'm happy to announce everything was successful. So, yes, showing that we are determined to be a good participant on space flights [was important to me].”

We thank God for his safe return, says AlMansoori

Meanwhile, Hazzaa Al Mansoori who was AlNeyadi’s reserve and the first Arab Increment Lead to Expedition 69 commended the latter for his daunting mission and his accomplishments during the course of the six months.

Hazzaa Al Mansoori said: “I was hearing Sultan and trying to hear his communication. Of course, from far it’s very different. We were very happy to see Sultan smiling. We thank God for his safe return. This wasn’t easy and we are very proud of Sultan. We have now gained a lot of experience with our previous missions as well and now we are among the spacefaring nations. We will continue with the national agenda.”

Meanwhile, Salem Al Marri, Director-General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), also hailed AlNeyadi efforts for raising the UAE flag high and making his country proud.

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He said: “Sultan has achieved a lot. Both Hazzaa and Sultan have trained for five years… We thank them for their persistence and endeavour, living away from family is not easy. A successful mission requires a lot of different people at various stages.

“When Sultan saw me for the first time, he said what’s next…the Moon? We are working on our strategies, and we will announce the MBRSC’s plans,” he added.

Lunar gateway

Responding to a query about Nasa's plan to begin construction of the Lunar station with the goal of having it in the moon's orbit by the end of this decade,

Sultan AlNeyadi said: “We all know about the Gateway. It's a proposed station that will orbit the Moon, so I would love to be part of it.”



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