The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has now become the 40th country in history to see one of its citizens fly into space, UAE sent their first astronaut into space. That is a step in a budding, ambitious space program for an oil-rich country the size of Maine along the southern side of the Persian Gulf. Next year, it plans to send a robotic spacecraft to Mars, and from now its leaders are talking about colonizing the red planet in a century.
Emirati officials hope that space will inspire and train a generation of engineers and scientists who can help prepare the country for a post-oil future.
Hazzaa Al-Mansoori, a former Emirati F-16 pilot, launched for the International Space Station in a Soyuz space capsule from a Russian spaceport in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. Also aboard were Jessica Meir of NASA and Oleg Skripochka of Russia. After a quick, six-hour trip, the spacecraft docked with the station at 3:42 p.m. Eastern time.
“I will try to remember each second of the launch itself,” Mr. al-Mansoori said during a news conference this month. “Because it will be really very important for me to share it with everyone and my country, the entire world, and the Arab region.”
The station will be congested for the next eight days with nine occupants before three of them, including Mr al-Mansoori, return to Earth on 3 October.
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