Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Beyond the Headlines: As Hazza Al Mansouri returns, the UAE looks to Mars, the Moon and beyond

Now that the first Emirati astronaut has returned to Earth, what is next for the UAE's space ambitions?

At 2.59pm UAE time on Thursday, October 3, 2019, Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut, touched down on Earth after an eight-day mission in outer space.

Aboard the International Space Station, Maj Al Mansouri was speeding around the earth at 7.66kph, completing approximately 16 orbits a day. During his mission, Maj Al Mansouri conducted a series of experiments that tested the perception of time in microgravity and the effects of space on the body’s cardiovascular system.

But now he is back and his mission captured the imagination of a country whose plans for space exploration are only just beginning. Our host Suhail Rather looks back on the mission and what is in store for the UAE's ambitions beyond the Karman Line.

He spoke to James Langton, contributor for The National, who covered Maj Al Mansouri's departure from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. Mr Al Marri spoke about the centre's objectives and upcoming plans for Mars.

He also spoke to Mikolaj Zielinski, a UAE resident from Poland and Mars One candidate. Mars One is a Netherlands-based project that is raising money to be one of the first to send humans to Mars on a one way trip to colonise the red planet.

Updated: October 3, 2019 05:48 PM

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