Emirati makes history becoming first Arab to reach space

Lauren Harnett | NASA

An Arab astronaut will be heading to the International Space Station along with a Jewish astronaut for the very first time.

A multinational crew, including the first space traveller from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday (EDT).NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, from the UAE, are set to launch at 9:57 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft.

Once aboard the space station, Meir, Skripochka and Almansoori will join NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Andrew Morgan and Nick Hague; Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov; and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, of the European Space Agency.

Writing on Twitter before the launch at Baikonur space centre, the former pilot in the UAE armed forces said he was "filled with this indescribable feeling of glory and awe".

"This day I raise the dreams and ambition of my country to a entire original dimension".

This exploration "will be pivotal for our longer duration missions in the future when we return to the moon and when we go to Mars", Meir said.

He is due to head back to Earth on 3rd October.

According to Amer Al-Ghafri, of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Mansoori's launch is only just the beginning of the UAE's dreams of space exploration. Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, lit up the moment of blast-off.

He will stream four live broadcasts about his experience and also, share cultural items and food with fellow crewmates, including a UAE flag and Emirati lamb stew.

At a pre-flight convention, Meir, 42, mentioned the crew communicated by utilizing "Runglish" - a combination of Russian and English. Skripochka and Meir are attach to remain on the ISS unless the spring of 2020.

"We still need to work on our Arabic", she joked.

Meanwhile, AlMansoori will spend his week on the station performing some experiments for the UAE and others, in collaboration with Roscosmos and ESA.

The spacecraft became the final to blast off from the initiate pad where Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin went off into attach onboard the Vostok 1, turning into the first man in attach in 1961.

The first Arab in outer attach became Saudi Arabia's Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud, who flew on a United States shuttle mission in 1985.

The International Space Station - a rare example of cooperation between Russian Federation and the West - has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometers per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.

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