Hazza Al Mansouri joins UAE's space mission from Earth

The Emirati astronaut will support Sultan Al Neyadi from mission control

Hazza Al Mansouri became the first Emirati to travel to space in September 2019. EPA
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The UAE's first astronaut has won a new role supporting the country's latest space mission from Earth.

Hazza Al Mansouri etched his name in the history books when he spent eight days on board the International Space Station in September 2019.

Now he is using his wealth of experience to offer a helping hand to colleague Sultan Al Neyadi, who started his six-month voyage on the floating laboratory on March 3 as part of Expedition 69.

Maj Al Mansouri will serve as increment lead for the reminder of the mission, becoming the first Arab to take on the position.

He will act as a primary point of contact between mission control on Earth and the crew aboard the ISS as they carry out their duties, including a raft of science experiments.

He will be tasked with identifying critical issues, gathering and passing on information to the astronauts and helping to develop and communicate mission procedures.

“I am honoured to facilitate seamless information exchange between the Astronauts Office and the ISS Expedition team,” said Maj Al Mansouri.

“However, my role entails more than just transmitting data. It includes understanding and appreciating our crew’s challenges and triumphs in space. We aim to advance human space exploration through our collective efforts to support Expedition 69.”

Salem Al Marri, director general of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said Maj Al Mansouri's appointment was “testament to his exceptional skills and knowledge”.

“The Expedition 69 mission is a tremendous accomplishment for the UAE and the entire Arab region,” said Mr Al Marri.

“It represents the longest Arab space mission to date and marks the first time an Arab astronaut has been appointed as Increment Lead.

“Hazza Al Mansouri’s appointment to this position is a testament to his exceptional skills and knowledge, and it sets the stage for more Arab astronauts to participate in space exploration.

“We are excited to witness Sultan and Hazzaa collaborate to conduct ground-breaking experiments that will broaden our knowledge of space and understanding of life in microgravity.”

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Updated: April 02, 2023, 10:32 AM