#UAEinSpace live-stream: Watch the UAE's first astronaut jet off into space
Today, the UAE will literally reach for the stars as Hazza Al Mansouri will be the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to head to the International Space Station.
When is the launch?
The launch will take place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan. Leased by Russia and its space programme, Baikonur is a incredibly historically significant spaceport. It was here where the 'Space Race' between the US and then-Soviet Union really kicked off.
It is the site where the first satellite was sent into space— the Sputnik I designed by the Soviets. It was also the site used to launch the Vostok 1, the world's first spaceflight in 1961. It was this launch that sent the first man into space, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin.
Al Mansouri and the rest of the crew will aboard the Soyuz MS-15 rocket at 5:56 pm GST and begin their journey towards the International Space Station.
Who is joining him?
Al Mansouri shall be joined by two other crew members on the space expedition, US astronaut Jessica Meir and Roscosmos commander Oleg Skripochka from Russia. Al Mansouri's back up crew member Sultan Al Neyadi, a fellow Emirati is also with him at the launch station.
The two contenders for first Emirati astronaut were selected from a pool of over 4,200 candidates that applied to the UAE Astronaut Programme. Al Mansouri holds a degree in aviation, later joining the Armed Forces and becoming a military pilot. Al Neyadi, also selected via the candidate process, holds a PhD in Information Technology Data Leakage Prevention.
What is he going to do up there?
Courtesy of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Al Mansouri is going to head up to the International Space Centre with an impressive range of cargo. His items range from a UAE silk flag, to Al Ghaf seeds, to a copy of the Quran. He’s also going to be holding a traditional Emirati meal on the ISS as a show of cultural exchange.
"I’m honoured to be the first astronaut to host an Emirati night on board the ISS to promote the Emirati culture, which I am proud to belong to, and share some delicious Emirati food like madrooba, saloona, and balaleet, which I’m sure they will like," said Al Mansouri.
Al Mansouri has been asked to carry out 16 experiments, six of which will be on the ISS. He will conduct Earth observations and acquire images, study the effect of the microgravity on the ISS, as well as study the effects of space travel on the human body.
A father and graduate of Khalifa bin Zayed Air Collegeh he hopes to inspire his country by placing the UAE flag inside the ISS.
“It will be a great honour to be the first Emirati astronaut to reach the ISS.”
“I remember in grade four I read in my schoolbook about an Arab astronaut, Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, and I thought that’s it – it’s possible for me. That’s why I applied to join the air force – it felt a little bit closer to the stars.”
He will hold a series of video chats and tours while on board in the effort to inspire the UAE people.
When is he back?
He shall spend eight-days in space, returning to Earth on October 3 at around 1:30 – 3:30 pm GST according to Gulf News.
Where can I watch the launch?
Key moments of the mission, including launch will be streamed on the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre website. Also, catch it live on Dubai TV. MBRSC is also hosting a seven-day space-themed event allows viewers to join in live video calls and radio chats with Al Mansouri. To participate, and to watch his return live on October 3, register with MBRSC here. You can also watch the launch via NASA here.
You can watch the NASA stream below: