United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori gestures shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule about 150 km ( 80 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.- AP
Dubai - The country is set to give him a hero's welcome as he is arriving at Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen Airport, in the evening.
UAE astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori has thanked his Russian space partners who helped prepare him for his historic mission to space. The Emirati astronaut is now on his way back to his motherland after his successful mission on the International Space Station.
The country is set to give him a hero's welcome as he is arriving at Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen Airport today, at about 5:00pm. He is traveling along with the backup of his mission, Sultan Al Neyadi. Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre's (MBRSC) Chairman and Director-General and AlMansoori's flight doctor, Hanan Al Suwaidi, are also accompanying him.
AlMansoori tweeted moments before boarding the plane: "Zayed's Ambition lives on... I will be returning home from Moscow in a few hours. I would like to thank this city, its people, GCTC at Star City and the Roscosmos team who trained and prepared me to become the first Emirati astronaut. We have collaborated with Roscosmos, NASA, Jaxa, and ESA for this mission. This truly has been an international collaboration and I am humbled to have been part of this. To the next Emirati Astronaut."
Meanwhile, Chairman of MBRSC HE Hamad AlMansoori, also issued a statement in a tweet. He said: "I would like to thank Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Roscosmos. Roscosmos for the strategic partnership with MBRSC that has been instrumental in training the first Emirati astronauts. Their contribution has facilitated the successful mission of Hazzaa AlMansoori to the International Space Station, and contributed in further developing the UAE's space sector."
The director-general of the UAE Space Agency, Dr Mohammed AlAhbabi, also sent out a tweet, saying that the UAE astronauts' return after this successful mission is a national achievement and puts the UAE in a "privileged position" within the international space community.