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Thu 26 Sep 2019 03:15 PM

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Social media frenzy as UAE astronaut is 239th to board the ISS

Hazzaa Al Mansoori's achievement sparks flurry of social media posts from excited Emirati users

Social media frenzy as UAE astronaut is 239th to board the ISS
The first Arab astronaut to travel to the ISS, as part of a scientific team that included Russian astronaut Oleg Scribushka and American astronaut Jessica Mir, added his name to the select group who have boarded the station.

Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori has become the 239th person to visit the International Space Station (ISS).

The first Arab astronaut to travel to the ISS, as part of a scientific team that included Russian astronaut Oleg Scribushka and American astronaut Jessica Mir, added his name to the select group who have boarded the station.

A statement issued by the ISS and cited by state news agency WAM said that 239 astronauts from 19 countries have travelled to the station.

The US has sent the largest number of astronauts, with 151, followed by Russia with 47, Japan with nine, Canada with eight, Italy with five, France with four, and Germany with three, while the UAE, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Spain, the UK, Malaysia, South Africa and South Korea have each sent one astronaut.

The ISS, which was built in 1998 as part of an international cooperation agreement led by the US and Russia, with funding from Canada, Japan and ten European countries, is a space research laboratory that seeks to improve the quality of life on Earth.

Social media erupted in excitement and support for Al Mansoori, with tens of thousands of users taking to Twitter to react to photos and videos of him, elevating his name as the top trending topics across the country.

"The word 'impossible' has no meaning in the UAE," wrote one social media user on the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre's account on Twitter.

"What an emotional rollercoaster! So much excitement! So many tears of joy! Today, the UAE has made history and sent its first astronaut to space," said another.

Social media users also reacted with excitement to a video shared by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, of his father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, donning cycling gear as he took a break on the side of the road in Dubai to watch the historic moment.

Another video, that was shared by WAM, also went viral, amassing 118,177 views. It captured the reaction of university students and school children gathering at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre to view the launch.

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