World’s first Emirati astronaut receives PhD from Khalifa University
Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut and Arab aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has just received his doctorate degree courtesy of Khalifa University on Sunday.
Following his historic mission on September 25 in which he spent eight-days performing cultural exchanges, experiments and livestreams in space, Al Mansouri has returned to his home as a hero for the country.
Everything from national stamps, to commemorative coins, to liveries on Airbus A380’s, the achievements of Al Mansouri, the fighter-pilot turn astronaut, have been justly celebrated and acknowledged throughout the United Arab Emirates.
Khalifa University, a science-focused institution in Abu Dhabi recognised the dedication of Al Mansouri to bring a “golden age of Arab astronauts” by awarding the man an honourary PhD certification.
He was handed the first ever honourary PhD given by the university in the presence of more than 400 students from Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, handed Al Mansouri the degree in Emirates Palace.
Al Mansouri however is not the first astronaut from Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to have a PhD. In fact the reserve astronaut, whom is expected to blast off for the nation’s next space mission, also has a PhD. Dr Sultan Al Neyadi was chosen out of a pool of 4,000 applicants to fly to space and like Al Mansouri, underwent the exact same gruelling training.
Al Mansouri and Al Neyadi
In 2008 Al Neyadi obtained his Master’s in Information and Networks Security from Griffith University, then got his PhD in Data Leakage Prevention Technology three years later. He has also studied at the same military college as Al Mansouri, the Zayed Military College, also known as the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College.
Sunday's graduation ceremony was also attended by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chief executive of Adnoc Group, and Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education.