Hazza Al Mansouri (extreme left) attends a briefing session at the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Image Credit: NASA
UAE IN SPACE
Abu Dhabi: When Hazza Al Mansoori becomes the first Emirati in space next Wednesday it will prove that anything is possible, according to Emirati youth who are closely following the September 25 mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
This is a massive step for our country. What was once a dream for many Emirati youth will now become a reality as our very own astronaut is launched into space, Aliya Al Marzooqui, 24, a medical student in the capital, told Gulf News.
Most importantly, this foray into space shows that nothing is impossible for an Emirati, and this presents a great opportunity for us to pursue whatever we set out mind to, Al Marzooqui said.
Her sentiments were echoed by the other young Emiratis who spoke to Gulf News.
It is not every day that a country launches an astronaut into space. This is a big event, and news about it is hard to miss, said Ali Fadhlani, 17, a university student in Dubai.
Fadhlani said he had always harboured hopes of going to space himself one day.
Rockets, planets and space have always fascinated me, he said. And I am excited about [Hazza Al Mansooris] launch later this month. Although I am planning to study artificial intelligence, who knows, I might use my education to eventually join the UAEs emerging space sector, he added.
Al Mansoori will blast off to the International Space Station on September 25, and stay eight days at the International Space Station. But this is not expected to be the only mission that the UAE initiates; officials at the UAE Space Agency have said that core astronauts will be trained for future missions as the country prepares to build an inhabitable settlement on Mars by 2117.
Ive thought of going to space myself, even though I am now studying media production, said 21-year-old Zayed University student Ali Lari. The point is, Al Mansooris trip shows us all that every aspiration is achievable. We, as a country, have the technology, the education and the support to achieve everything we set our minds to, he added.
Al Mansooris first space flight to the ISS is with prime crew Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir, and is the biggest milestone in the UAEs fledging space programme so far following the creation and launch of satellites like KhalifaSat last October.
A medical student at Fatima College of Health Sciences in Al Ain, Mariam Khamis Al Shamsi, 21, said, Such historic occasions boost morale of the youth and encourage us to study more about space because the future is more related to space and innovation.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, always lays more and more emphasis on space explorations, discoveries and innovations. Such voyages will open doors to all other Emiratis, who wish to venture into space studies.
Amira Hamad Al Kaabi, 21, who graduated in nursing in Al Ain, said: We highly feel proud that an Emirati is going to the International Space Station and would spend more than a week there, that is an amazing development and a big achievement for the Emirati community as whole. Such things prove that the locals have lots of potential in different fields. The younger generation have lots of hopes and ambitions, and such historic moments would help them to think big and achieve greater goals in life. Previously the space studies were not a choice but now its getting popular subject among youth.
Another local student, Jawaher Obaid Al Alawi, 20, echoed other Emiratis in saying that this would motivate the younger generation to study space sciences.
Personally I feel so excited about our brother Hazza travelling to space and spending some time there, said Al Alawi, a nursing student at Fatima College of Health Sciences in Abu Dhabi. If I get an opportunity to explore space, sure I would love to travel there. Its an incredible experience and a life time achievement, she added.
What they say...
- Ali Fadhlani | University student
- Aliya Al Marzouqui | Medical student
- Ali Lari | Media production student
- Amira Hamad Al Kaabi | Graduate in nursing
- Mariam Khamis | Al Shamsi Medical student
- Jawaher Obaid Al Alawi | Nursing student
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