UAE astronaut Hazzaa inspires a generation

dubai, hazzaa, almansoori, astronaut, space, mission, uae, uae in space

Some staff members at the MBRSC shed tears of happiness at the sight of the rocket successfully taking off.



By Ashwani Kumar and Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Thu 26 Sep 2019, 10:19 PM

Last updated: Fri 27 Sep 2019, 8:53 AM

It was the biggest blockbuster event in the history of the country. Both the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) were overwhelmed by the turnout of proud supporters who were all eager to witness the liftoff of the first Emirati astronaut.
Jaws dropped and hearts skipped a beat - before the crowds in Dubai and Abu Dhabi erupted in thunderous cheers as Hazzaa AlMansoori's rocket finally blasted off into space on Wednesday.
Joy and pride were all over their faces as they clapped furiously and waved their UAE flags.
Some staff members at the MBRSC shed tears of happiness at the sight of the rocket successfully taking off. The moment was most significant for the 'young dreamers' of the UAE. 
One of those who anxiously waited till the final countdown was 14-year-old Khalifa Al Madad Beloul, a student of Al Ittihad Private School.
Ten minutes prior to the liftoff, Khalifa kept glancing at his watch, waiting for the moment he'd been waiting for for several months. 
"This is going to be one of the most important moments in my nation's history. I'm nervous, but I'm thrilled and excited," he told Khaleej Times. 
And when the liftoff was completed, he said: "My aspirations to become an astrophysicist have now been solidified." 
Khalifa was joined by several hundred UAE nationals and expatriates at the MBRSC's makeshift dome where three giant screens live-streamed the historical event.
"It was incredible. I now want to pursue a career in space research," said Fatima Al Hamadi, a student at Sharjah's Bathat Al Badiya School.
Thanks to this giant leap, a group of girls from Al Rashid Al Saleh International School - Shaikha Al Raees, Alia Al Soori, and Aya Albalooshi - now hope that "in a few years, the UAE will also have several women astronauts".
'I was there' moment
In the Capital, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre's (Adnec) Al Maared Hall was filled to capacity as hundreds of youngsters and people from all walks of life witnessed the event with patriotic fervour.
It was an 'I was there' moment that no one wanted to miss.
Every time Hazzaa appeared on the screen, the crowd clapped and cheered in pride.
Sheikha Al Maskari, chief innovation officer at the UAE Space Agency, told Khaleej Times that the turnout of supporters exceeded expectations - and showed that Hazzaa has inspired a generation.
"At the end, we had to lock down the hall as there was no more space. It was a beautiful moment when the national anthem was played and many cried while singing the lyrics.
This is a very emotional moment for us," she said after the launch.
A Hazza in the crowd 
Among the hundreds of spectators was a namesake - Hazza Ahmed Al Mazrooqi, who loved all the attention he was getting.
Al Mazrooqi, a student at Applied Technology High School, said: "I am also passionate about the space industry. I hope to make my country proud one day. Astronaut Hazzaa has not only inspired me but a generation."
reporters@khaleejtimes.com


More news from UAE