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Sat 14 Dec 2019 01:33 AM

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Emirati astronaut wins Distinguished Public Service Medal from NASA

Hazzaa al-Mansoori became the first Arab to reach the International Space Station in September

Emirati astronaut wins Distinguished Public Service Medal from NASA

The medal is awarded to individuals whose achievements demonstrate a level of excellence that made a profound or indelible impact on NASA mission success.

Emirati Hazzaa al-Mansoori, who became the first Arab to reach the International Space Station in September, has received the prestigious Distinguished Public Service Medal from NASA.

The medal is awarded to individuals whose achievements demonstrate a level of excellence that made a profound or indelible impact on NASA mission success, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre said in a tweet.

Although Mansoori's mission was short - eight days in total - it has been the source of great pride in the UAE, a newcomer to the world of space with ambitions to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021.

The 35-year-old former military pilot's whirlwind mission has had wall-to-wall coverage in Arab media. He returned to Earth on October 3.

Mansoori arrived home following a stopover at the Roscosmos training base in Star City outside Moscow.

Mansoori flew to the ISS after the UAE signed a contract with Roscosmos to allow him to become a "spaceflight participant", a term used for people from outside the main space agencies who take short trips to the station.

While on board, Mansoori donned Emirati dress, treated crew members to local snacks and participated in scientific experiments including a time-perception study that saw him sport a blindfold.

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