Emiratis Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi raise UAE flag in preparation for space flight

The flag-raising ceremony is a tradition for astronauts preparing for their missions to the International Space Station

Emirati astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi raise the UAE flag at a ceremony at Baikonur Cosmodrome on Thursday ahead of their mission to the ISS on September 25. WAM
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Emirati astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi raised the UAE flag during a ceremony for the countries taking part in the mission to the International Space Station on Thursday.

Astronauts from the other nations involved in the September 25 mission, Russia and the US, also took part in the ceremony.

Oleg Skripochka and Jessica Meir from the main crew, and Sergei Nikolaevich and Thomas Henry from the back-up crew were among those taking part.

The ceremony is a curtain-raiser for the astronauts who will board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the flight to the space station.

The crew visited the cosmodrome's museum, which has exhibits including space equipment and miniature models of rockets that have been launched into space.

They also signed the wall of Sergei Korolev, the lead Soviet rocket engineer in the 1940s and 1950s.

Al Mansouri and Al Neyadi arrived in Baikonur on September 10.

A day later, they conducted several tests to ensure the readiness of their Sokol spacesuits.

The crew 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.

The mission is part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which is overseen by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

It is the first integrated programme in the Arab region to prepare Emirati teams to take part in space flights and carry out various scientific missions.

They will also be a part of the research carried out by the global scientific community to devise solutions to the challenges facing humanity.