UAE intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Mokha in Yemen

This file photo shows the UAE armed forces, operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, in Yemen. The UAE intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Mokha, southern Yemen. (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2018
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UAE intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Mokha in Yemen

MOKHA, Yemen: The UAE armed forces, operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, on Sunday intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.
The missile, which was intercepted by the UAE’s Patriot Missile Defense System, was fired toward Mokha in the Taiz governorate, according to UAE state news agency WAM.
The coalition fighters also destroyed a ballistic missile launchpad belonging to the Houthis near Hodeidah airport, where rebels were preparing to launch a missile.
Yemen’s National Army forces also made progress in regaining control of the territory, following a collapse among the Houthi ranks and mass retreats by militants, WAM reported.
Meanwhile, coalition forces continued to attack strongholds of the Houthi militias and conduct air raids on vital areas between Hays and Al-Jarrahi in the south of Hodeidah governorate on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast.
The raids led to numerous lives lost and damaged the Houthi equipment, as the forces loyal to the legitimate Yemeni government blocked their attempts to infiltrate liberated areas.
An official source from the Yemeni Resistance told WAM that the Arab Coalition Forces carried out air raids last night on areas where militias were gathering in Al-Hameli, Mawza District, and east of Khalid bin Al Walid camp, destroying their military equipment and weapons.
The source added that the Arab Coalition Forces are still clearing pockets of Houthi militias in areas between eastern Mokha and Hays, while highlighting the violations and crimes carried out by the militias.
The UAE Armed Forces are providing military and logistical support to ground, air and maritime operations, as part of the Arab Coalition Forces.


Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

Updated 20 July 2019
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Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

  • Hazza Al-Mansoori 'living a dream' as he and backup astronaut train for space mission in September
  • Soyuz-MS 15 launch could be the beginning of a bold new era of Arab exploration of space

DUBAI: More than 30 years after an Arab first journeyed into space, an  Emirati is preparing to become the latest Arab space traveler when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) in September.

For months, Hazza Al-Mansoori and backup pilot Sultan Al-Neyadi have been undergoing intensive training in Russia, Germany and the US to prepare for the mission. The first Emirati to travel into space will make the historic journey on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.

During the eight-day mission, he will conduct a tour of the ISS for Arabic viewers on Earth and carry out 15 experiments for the Science in Space schools competition conducted by Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center.

The crew, who will include an American and a Russian, are allowed to take up to 1 kg of personal items with them on the mission.

“I will take my family photo and share the experience of being in space with them,” Al-Mansoori said. There will also be an image of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s founding father, meeting American astronauts in 1976.

“I am also going to take an Emirati flag. I am living my dream and want to give something back to my country.”

‘I will take an Emirati flag into space. I am living my dream and want to give something back to my country.’

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori

Al-Mansoori will join an elite space club comprising Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman and Syria’s Muhammed Faris. Prince Sultan became the first Arab to travel to space as part of space shuttle Discovery’s crew in 1985. Faris was a crew member of USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987.

The Emirati astronaut is aware that history is resting on his shoulders. Speaking to the media recently during his training program in Houston, Al-Mansoori  said it is a huge personal honor to be the first Emirati chosen for space exploration.

“I’m excited about the whole mission, but especially to experience the microgravity and be living in the ISS, and conducting daily experiments and working with the amazing group on board,” he said.

Al-Mansoori and Al-Neyadi have been undergoing rigorous training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The program includes familiarization with NASA equipment on board the space station, and handling emergency situations, such as ammonia gas leaks and depressurization.

The Emiratis have been trained to fend for themselves if the return goes off course and they land in the wilderness of Russia.

Speaking of the Soyuz-MS 15 mission, Yousuf Al-Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, said: “We strive to see the UAE Astronaut Program achieve its objective of preparing generations of Emiratis who will contribute to enhancing the country’s position in space science and research to serve the ambitious aspirations aimed at building a national knowledge-based economy.”

The September launch could prove to be the beginning of a bold new era for Arabs and space. Al-Neyadi, the backup pilot, has been promised a seat on a future mission, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia are drawing up ambitious plans for the development of the region’s space industry.