Hazzaa AlMansouri, the first Emirati astronaut, landed back on earth today, marking a historic milestone in the UAE's history. The Soyuz descent module which carried Hazzaa and crewmates Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin landed in Kazakhstan at exactly 2.59pm today after undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) earlier today.
Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori, wrapped in the UAE Flag, being carried to the medical tent by Salem AlMarri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, and Saeed Karmostaji, Manager of the astronauts office at the #MBRSC.@astro_hazzaa#FirstEmiratiAstronaut #HazzaaAlMansoori pic.twitter.com/CI0QfzHKev— MBR Space Centre (@MBRSpaceCentre) October 3, 2019
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center commented on Twitter, "After a successful eight-day mission aboard the International Space Station and ushering a whole new era for Arab space exploration, astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori has just landed along with Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchini near Kazakhstan."
Images and videos of the landing have gone viral on social media, with the Arab world rejoicing at what will forever remain a day to be celebrated in history.
Hazzaa AlMansouri was selected from a of 4.200 candidates that applied to the UAE Astronaut program. To prepare for his 8 day space mission, Hazzaa went through rigorous physical, technical and mental training at a space center near Moscow. The training included stomach-churning zero-gravity simulations, winter survival techniques and mastering the Russian language.
Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori and his crew members have been extracted from the Soyuz descent module.
.@astro_hazzaa#FirstEmiratiAstronaut #HazzaaAlMansoori pic.twitter.com/8SqJhV6bqd— MBR Space Centre (@MBRSpaceCentre) October 3, 2019
Hazzaa's return is the second successful mission within the UAE's ambitious space program, the first being the launch of the first Emirati satellite "KhalifaSat" in October. The proud Gulf nation is now gearing up to launch its first-ever Mars probe in 2020.