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UAE’s first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori hoping to go on more space missions

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on November 13, 2019 | Last updated on November 13, 2019 at 06.47 am
UAE, first, Emirati astronaut, Hazzaa AlMansoori, Hazzaa, space missions, Sultan AlNeyadi, GCC tour, F-16 pilot, UAE Astronaut Programme
Sultan AlNeyadi and Hazzaa AlMansoori share a light moment as they address a Press conference at Dubai Press Club. - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Hazzaa insisted that he had ensured the programme was a sustainable one.

The UAE's first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori is hopeful that the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will send him on "two or three" more space missions.

The former military pilot, who recently became the first Arab on the International Space Station (ISS), insisted that he had ensured the programme was a sustainable one and his historic flight "won't be a one-time thing".

Hazzaa and reserve astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi were addressing their first post-mission Press conference in Dubai on Tuesday, where they also revealed that they'll soon be going on a UAE and GCC tour.

"I was changing my career as a pilot and before joining the (astronaut) programme, I had asked if it was sustainable because it is difficult to go back," AlMansoori, who was the youngest F-16 pilot in the UAE, said. "I was told I would go on two or three missions depending on my health."

Salem Al Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, told Khaleej Times that they are looking at various partners for the next human space flight. Currently, only Russia's Soyuz spacecraft can send humans to the ISS.

With Nasa's commercial crew space missions and Boeing's space flights coming closer to reality, Al Marri said having more options helps their programme. "Having more options to get to space is always a good thing. If we look at three years ago, when we started looking at sending an astronaut, there was only the option of Soyuz.

"I always say that I love our Russian partners, their technologies... they are great people and partners for us. Having more options ... that's definitely something beautiful because it gives us more opportunities to send people to the ISS and to take advantage of these seats.

"We are looking at Boeing, SpaceX and these will start becoming successful in 2020 and we've got our eyes on that and on the Russians."

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

 


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