Emirati satellite captures image of UAE astronaut's launch site

KhalifaSat transmits picture of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where Hazza Al Mansouri is currently in isolation ahead of journey to space

A picture of the  Baikonur  Cosmodrome, captured from space by the Emirati-built KhalifaSat. Courtesy Dubai Media Office
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An Emirati-made satellite has captured an out of this world image of the launch site for the country's first astronaut's journey to space.

KhalifaSat - which blasted off into orbit from Japan last year - has sent back a crystal clear snap of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport in southern Kazakhstan where history-maker Hazza Al Mansouri is currently in quarantine ahead of lift-off for his momentous trip to the International Space Station.

The satellite, built at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, is an integral part of the UAE's blossoming space programme.

The nation's bold project will take another huge leap forward when Maj Al Mansouri rockets into space on September 25.

Maj Al Mansouri, a former military pilot, is currently in isolation ahead of the landmark journey alongside compatriot Sultan Al Neyadi, a doctor of information technology and former engineer for the UAE Armed Forces, who is among the back-up team for the expedition.

The duo arrived in Baikonur on Tuesday and have spent their time conducting tests to ensure the readiness of the Sokul space suit, which Maj Al Mansouri will wear inside the Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft, which will carry him to the ISS alongside Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and US astronaut Jessica Meir.

The main crew and the back-up crew also conducted the first fit-check of the Soyuz MS-15 to ensure that the devices, equipment, and payload, were in place, and to record any observations for the engineers responsible for the spacecraft.