LIVE UPDATES: Sultan Al Neyadi blasts off to space
The UAE's leaders have congratulated astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi after he blasted off to space on a SpaceX rocket on Thursday.
President Sheikh Mohamed said the 41-year-old computer scientist was a source of “great pride”.
“I join the nation in congratulating Sultan Al Neyadi as he begins his pioneering mission aboard the International Space Station”, Sheikh Mohamed said.
“His inspiring achievement is a source of great pride to the UAE and another milestone in the journey of our nation and the ambitions of our people.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said Dr Al Neyadi was a true “son of the Emirates”.
Dr Al Neyadi is hurtling through space and is due to reach the International Space Station by midmorning on Friday.
Nasa will stream footage of the moment the airlock opens and the four Crew-6 astronauts including Dr Al Neyadi float into the station.
Maj Hazza Al Mansouri, who spent eight days on ISS in 2019, said he was overjoyed to see his crewmate blast-off.
"This is the first rocket launch I've seen, and I'm at a loss for words to express how happy I am to see my brother Sultan soar through the heavens," he said on Twitter.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, said on Twitter: "A historic and important journey full of hope with the launch of the son of the Emirates, Sultan Al Neyadi, to board the International Space Station. All thanks to their highnesses for their unlimited trust and support."
"We have determination and will to expand the boundaries of knowledge and develop space technology stemming from the belief of the United Arab Emirates in the importance of space exploration.
"We are proud of the progress made by the Emirati astronauts in this historic and exceptional mission, and we eagerly await their arrival and learn about the developments of their journey."