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Revealed: Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori's agenda after first space mission

UAE astronaut, Hazzaa AlMansoori, Hazzaa, coming home, heros welcome,

Dubai - There will be more space flights for Emiratis in the future.



By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Mon 14 Oct 2019, 5:33 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:37 AM

UAE astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori's space mission may be over, but he still has important duties that he'll be carrying out in the upcoming months, including travelling around the country to "transfer knowledge to the youth". Hazzaa and the backup astronaut for the first UAE space mission came back to a grand Emirati welcome on Saturday.
Salem Al Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), told Khaleej Times that the two astronauts are part of the country's first astronaut corps and remain on standby for any future space missions. Who goes next depends on the profile of the mission, he said.
"From an MBRSC perspective, they must remain as active as possible," Al Marri said. "I believe their aspirations are the same."
Talking specifically about Hazzaa, he said: "First of all, he's gained a lot of experience on the International Space Station (ISS) and is the only Arab to have gone there. He's the only one who can give a unique insider viewpoint towards problems he encountered there and how to mitigate them for our astronauts in the future.
"Outreach, education, meeting people in and out of the country that has supported the mission ... these will be the objectives for the next couple of months. They will go out and share their experience with the UAE, and hopefully also the region. Once we set our plans in motion for the next flight, the astronaut corps will become active."
Next mission
When asked when the UAE will secure another seat on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, Al Marri said "no negotiations have started yet" for any of the upcoming missions (Soyuz MS-17 flight). "I don't want to rule out anything. We are looking at all options."
The UAE and Russia had an intergovernmental agreement to send Hazzaa to the ISS. Nations like Brazil and Malaysia have sent their astronauts under similar agreements previously. Most of these countries have sent only one astronaut so far and haven't followed through.
However, Al Marri insisted the UAE's Astronaut Programme is a sustainable one and there will be more space flights for Emiratis in the future.
The next step for the MBRSC team is to release some of the results of the scientific experiments this mission involved. "There are two advantages of the experiments we've done. One, it's the first time someone from this region has gone to the ISS. Second, experiments for short duration trips are less common and we'll be able to see how the trip affect his body, bones and different aspects," he added.
sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

'Putin's visit a boost for space ties'
Salem Al Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to the UAE will help further advance relations and collaboration in space-related activities between the two countries.
"A big part of the UAE-Russia relations is human space flight and space flight in general. I think Putin coming to the UAE will have a positive impact for future space cooperation for the two countries," Al Marri said.
Putin will be in the UAE on Tuesday and hold talks with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
sarwat@khaleejtimes.com


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