A crowd in Dubai erupted in cheers and applause on Wednesday as the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates launched toward the International Space Station, dubbing him a national hero.
UAE makes history with the launch of Hazzaa Al Mansoori to space. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying him and two other astronauts had blasted off to the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The spacecraft successfully docked at ISS in about 6 hours after blast off and the Emirati austronaut and other crew members entered International Space Station.
A former pilot in the UAE armed forces, he will be the first Emirati astronaut and the first Arab on the orbiting laboratory, but not the first Muslim.
Hazzaa Al Mansoori: “I am so happy to hear your voices. I wish I could have shared what i saw with you. Beautiful scenery of sunsets and sunrises the earth. I say hello to our leaders, our people and all the Arabs.”
Mansoori received support from around the world before lifting off on what he described as his “dream” mission. He will spend eight days on the ISS, where he plans to conduct experiments.
Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, lit up the moment of blast-off at 5:57pm local time.
Sheikh Mohammed, also the UAE’s vice president and prime minister, vowed in 2017 to send four Emirati astronauts to the space station within five years.