Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri's first mission back on Earth is talk to mum

The UAE's first astronaut has revealed his top priority when he lands back after eight days on the International Space Station

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri will catch up with hi mother when he arrives back on Earth after an eight-day stay in space. EPA    
Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri will catch up with hi mother when he arrives back on Earth after an eight-day stay in space. EPA    

Parents tend to worry when their children are far away from home, no matter whether they have jetted off on holiday or are aboard the International Space Station.

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri will have the eyes of a nation fixed on him when he comes back down to earth after eight days in space on Thursday, but his priority will be to tell his mother he has made a safe arrival.

The former fighter pilot, himself a father-four, made the touching revelation during a question and answer session with students beamed from the ISS to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai.

The event was attended by Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth, who asked Maj Al Mansouri to share some words with young people inspired by his history-making journey to the stars.

Maj Al Mansouri, who has rocketed into the record books as the UAE's first astronaut, said the opportunities afforded to the UAE's youth can be a launchpad for success and that nothing is "impossible".

"Anyone in the UAE is lucky, and Emiratis are lucky, because we have leaders who have given us all the tools for success," said Maj Al Mansouri, who has been part of the latest ISS mission since Wednesday.

"To the youth of the UAE and the Arab region, I say, hope exists, and we at the United Arab Emirates have opportunities in all fields, but we must work with dedication and depend on Allah, while having a strong willpower.

"This is what we learn from our leaders; that there is no impossible, and that you will achieve your goals if you work hard enough."

Maj Al Mansouri is enjoying his stint on the ISS and said during the live session he was eager to take part in future missions.

Fielding the queries of students, he said there is internet on board the ISS, which astronauts use to send emails and communicate with ground control.

While sustainability is a pressing concern back on Earth, the 35-year-old said energy-saving measures are also in place in space.

"Most of the lights inside the station are switched off when we are asleep, to save energy, and the adopted time at the ISS is Greenwich Mean Time. Our day starts at 6am and ends at 9:30 pm," said Maj Al Mansouri.

Maj Al Mansouri is continuing to conduct experiments while in space, including a study on the mechanisms of action and the efficiency of different counter measures against disturbances in the astronaut’s motor activity under space flight conditions.

On Tuesday, Mj Al Mansouri shared a stunning image of the Emirates taken from his unique vantage point among the stars.

Emirati astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri, takes live Q&A from space and gives a station tour. Screengrab via Youtube Live
Emirati astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri, takes live Q&A from space and gives a station tour. Screengrab via Youtube Live

"From the happiest astronaut to the happiest nation...this is history, this is the UAE from space," he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, he was pictured looking at home at the space station wearing an Emirati kandura as he shared the UAE's culture with the eight other astronauts on board.

On Wednesday, he had the Middle East in his sights again as he captured an aerial image of Makkah.

Maj Al Mansouri will return to Earth, landing on one of three designated sites in Kazakhstan, at about 4pm UAE time on Thursday.

Updated: October 2, 2019 04:45 PM

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