All systems go for Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori despite failure of spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station on Saturday
The failure of an unmanned Russian Soyuz spacecraft to dock automatically at the International Space Station on Saturday will have no impact on plans to send the first Emirati astronaut into space, a senior official has said.
Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori will be the first to conduct an introductory tour in Arabic at the International Space Station, after travelling onboard the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft on September 25.
Following more than 1,400 hours of training and 90 courses within a year, Al Mansoori will carry out 16 scientific experiments in cooperation with international space agencies, making the UAE the 19th country to get a foothold on the ISS.
Salem Al Marri, assistant director general for Science and Technology Sector and head of UAE Astronaut Programme, dismissed any concerns about the failure of the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russia's first humanoid robot.
"It was an unpiloted trip and scientists at Russia's Roskosmos are trying to correct the issue. There will be another attempt soon. The incident has no impact on Al Mansoori who is now at his best and completed all pre-spaceflight medical experiments one month before the trip," he told state news agency WAM.
"Our mission to space aims to inspire our next generation. The ultimate value of the mission is to contribute to the enrichment of scientific progress in the UAE and make further achievements in the space, science, and research industry, to serve the ambitious aspirations to be one of the leading countries in the space industry and its science and technology," he added.
Al Mansoori's scientific mission is divided across three areas. The first is scientific experiments identified in cooperation with global partners, including NASA, the European Space Agency, ESA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA and Roscosmos. The second is the Science in Space initiative, simple scientific experiments selected based on the UAE’s school curriculum, while the third pillar is educational initiatives, in coordination with the ESA and JAXA.
Al Mansoori will take the UAE flag made of 100 percent silk, a photo of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with a delegation of Apollo astronauts, taken 1976, a copy of the Holy Quran, a book entitled My Story by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and MBRSC’s book The Race to Space.
MBRSC has also signed an agreement with the Emirates Amateur Radio Society to build a radio station inside the centre to communicate with the first Emirati astronaut while aboard the ISS.