Hazza Al Mansouri's space mission isn't over yet
Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut and Arab on the International Space Station (ISS) may have returned back to Earth on October 3, but his mission for the nation’s fledgling space agency is far from over.
Space missions are far more complex than popping into a rocket, going to space and then returning to Earth. Al Mansouri’s eight day stay on the ISS had to be prepared for with months of training, as well as isolation from the rest of the world for medical reasons. Similarly, after his stay, his mission continues with a host of tests and experiments once back home.
The young astronaut is currently undergoing medical tests at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Moscow. Dr Hanan Al Suwaidi, the flight surgeon, is currently studying the effects of microgravity and space travel on Al Mansouri’s body.
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director-general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), explained these post-flight examinations are equally important for mission.
"Carrying on with the medical studies is an important part of the UAE’s first manned mission to space," said Mr Al Shaibani.
"Through the work of the UAE Astronaut Programme team and in partnership with the global agencies, we ensure the success of the scientific mission, which will add new and important data to the global scientific community about the impact of space missions on human beings."
Observations also include Al Mansouri’s sensory adaptations (how his senses changed in space), balance, time perception, and changes in heart rate in space.
.@astro_hazzaa, undergoes a number of medical experiments, including thorough medical tests by specialists in Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow. The studies include testing the effects of microgravity & space flights on the human body.https://t.co/IobUXmaVKO pic.twitter.com/QzQqfpOI9R— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) 8 October 2019
"The experiments Hazza is undergoing now are part of his scientific mission which started before his flight to ISS," said Salem Al Marri, the UAE Astronaut programme manager.
"He is going through a number of medical checks to study the effects of space flights on humans. The objective is to find answers to questions posed by the scientific community."
"Hazza [Al Mansouri] is in good health condition and high morale. His mission continues after he’s back to the UAE, when he will be sharing his experience with a number of academic and scientific entities."
Al Mansouri, previously a fighter pilot, was hand chosen by the UAE to become the first Emirati to leave the atmosphere of Earth. The 35-year old spent eight days abroad the ISS, launching into space on September 25 on the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, and returning on the Soyuz MS-12.
During his stay he carried out a wide variety of experiments including time perception in space and the impact of micro-gravity on seed growth. In a historic moment, he also carried out the first Emirati act of cultural exchange in space. With history firmly made and the potential of the UAE’s space agency proven.
His mission was highly publicised, with livestreams, Q&As and various photos shared. His mission makes up part of a larger goal for the UAE’s space agency to eventually work to colonise the Red Planet – Mars.
We are about to undock from the ISS. Another challenge is wandering around. With fear and pride, I am returning with Zayed’s ambition achieved. We are not done yet, and we will never be. To bring back the golden era of arab astronauts. pic.twitter.com/9aYUFNyi0H— Hazzaa AlMansoori (@astro_hazzaa) 3 de outubro de 2019