Crown Prince of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum made a phone call to Emirati astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi as they prepare to start their 15-day quarantine period ahead of the launch of their mission to the International Space Station.
His Highness said that the UAE’s achievements contribute to enhancing the region’s ability to revive its culture and civilization. Emiratis are pioneers in exploring new horizons for the region, including space exploration. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed the government to utilise Emirati talents and capabilities to strengthen the UAE’s efforts to shape the future, he added.
During the call, Sheikh Hamdan said the astronauts are the pride of UAE and their efforts will help the country make a historic achievement in the space sector. “This historic voyage to the International Space Station will open the way for a new scientific revolution in the Arab world. The achievement will contribute to the vision to of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to revive the Arab world’s glorious civilisation.” Sheikh Hamdan thanked the astronauts and support teams for their dedication and commitment during the entire project.
Emirati astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi bid farewell to the Russian capital, Moscow, after completing their training period at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City. Today, both astronauts travel to Baikonur for a 15-day preparation ahead of the launch of their mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on 25 September.
The farewell ceremony was held at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, in the presence of His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), His Excellency Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of MBRSC, and Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for the Science and Technology Sector and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme
His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, said: “We are now at an important stage that reflects the efforts of the UAE’s wise leadership, and its people, in making this remarkable achievement for the country”.
“We are truly proud of what we achieved. Today, Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi carry the ambitions of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and renew their pledge to our wise leadership, to raise the UAE’s flag in space. I’d like to thank them for making us proud, and wish them all the best,” continued Al Mansoori.
His Excellency Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, said: “We are witnessing a historic event that reflects the UAE's determination to engage the global scientific community in enriching humanity with new results from scientific experiments, which contribute to the improvement of human life”.
“After the successful completion of the training and tests at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow, we are fully confident and prepared to travel for our first mission to the ISS,” continued Al Shaibani.
Experiments and partnerships
Al Mansoori will conduct 16 scientific experiments in cooperation with international space agencies, including the Russian Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA). Six of these experiments will be done aboard the ISS to study Brain DTI, Osteology, motor control, time perception in microgravity, Fluidics (fluid dynamics in space), and DNAm-Age.
The scientific mission includes experiments involving schools in the UAE as part of MBRSC’s Science in Space initiative. The first phase of the initiative witnessed the participation of nearly 16 schools from the UAE, in the presence of Al Mansoori. These experiments will be conducted in a microgravity environment aboard the ISS and the results will then be compared with those done on earth, to contribute to supporting the UAE curriculum with new scientific materials that will be the result of the UAE's first human space flight.
Al Mansoori's scientific mission comes within the framework of strategic partnerships with major global space agencies, including Roscosmos, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), NASA, and ESA.
Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi will arrive today, 10 September, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in preparation for the 15-day quarantine period, prior to the launch of the space mission to the ISS. During this time, the astronauts will be accompanied by Saeed Karmostaji, the astronauts’ office manager, and Dr. Hanan Al Suwaidi, flight surgeon, who was recently appointed in this position through a partnership between MBRSC and the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.
During this period, the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FBMA) is fully responsible for their health, and will be working to protect the astronauts from illnesses and prevent them from spreading to the ISS.
The FBMA is responsible for preventing germs from entering their ground and space facilities, in addition to implementing a comprehensive sterilisation against microbes. The facilities and tools they use are subject to frequent sterilisation, including accommodation, buses and training sites.
Experts at FBMA are constantly taking laboratory samples from various facilities and tools to verify the presence of germs and prevent them from moving to the spacecraft, the ISS and space in general.
Preparing personal belongings
Prior to the launch, Al Mansoori will prepare to take his personal belongings, such as family photos and some memories, in addition to the UAE flag and logos, using specific codes, with the MBRSC’s stamp placed on them, in preparation for placement inside the Soyuz MS-15.
Al Mansoori will take the UAE flag made of 100% silk, a photo of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with a delegation of Apollo astronauts, a copy of the Holy Quran, ‘My Story’ by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in which the first chapter talks about the story of the day His Highness announced the launch of the UAE Astronaut Programme, and MBRSC’s book The Race to Space.