The largest city of the UAE, Dubai, witnessed the gathering of a large crowd on September 25 as the United Arab Emirates sent its first astronaut into space for an eight-day mission to the International Space Station.
The citizens and school-going children showed their presence at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center as, Hazzaa Al-Mansoori, went into space alongside Russia's Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir with the help of a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in southern Kazakhstan. A few people who assembled at the center in Dubai, had UAE flags in their hand, while others were wearing blue jumpsuits with future astronaut imprinted on them.
A woman by the name of Badriya al-Hamadi said she was so pleased with what UAE had achieved and that made her feel as if she was going into space aboard that space rocket. According to Amer Al-Ghafri, an official at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, Hazoori's journey into space is just the beginning of what is about to come.
A former pilot in the UAE military, Hazzaa Al-Mansoori, described this mission as a dream come true as he was full of pride and determination of carrying his country forward in an all-new direction. The astronaut had his country's flag, family pictures along with a few other things inside a bag that he was allowed to take on this space expedition.
In the events that preceded this historic moment, Sheikh Mohammed, UAE's vice president, and PM posted a tweet with a message for all the young people in the Emirates.
Hazza Al Mansouri's entry to space sends a message to Arab youth that we can march forward, that we can keep pace with the rest of the world. Our next station is Mars through the Hope Probe, competently designed by our Emirati youth. pic.twitter.com/UfjzYPpEG2— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) September 25, 2019
In response to this moment, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, posted a tweet that congratulated Mansoori on his achievement.
Very happy to learn of the successful start to what will surely be a fabulous journey into outer space by our brother Hazza. I laud the vision of Sheikh @MohamedBinZayed! Congratulations UAE! https://t.co/dS3CRXrKkj— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 25, 2019
While attending the UNGA in New York, the Indian PM further added that India could take a cue from UAE for its own upcoming space program in the year 2022.
We take inspiration from this feat of a good and close friend for our own human space flight programme which will take an Indian into space on an Indian spacecraft by the year 2022!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 25, 2019
(With inputs from agencies)