Turkey’s S-400s to be loaded on planes Sunday in Russia: Haberturk

Two cargo planes will bring the initial deliveries of S-400 to Turkey. (File/AFP)
Updated 05 July 2019
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Turkey’s S-400s to be loaded on planes Sunday in Russia: Haberturk

  • Two cargo planes will bring the first S-400 deliveries from a Russian military base to Turkey
  • US said the S-400 would compromise the F-35 fighter jets

ISTANBUL: The first of the Russian S-400 defense systems that Ankara has purchased will be loaded on to cargo planes on Sunday and arrive in Turkey some time next week, privately-held broadcaster Haberturk reported.
Washington has said that US sanctions would be triggered when the missile batteries arrive in NATO ally Turkey.
The initial S-400 delivery will be sent on two cargo planes from a Russian military air base, Haberturk said without citing a source. It also reported that a Russian technical team that would oversee its installation is expected to arrive in Turkey by Monday.
Turkey and the United States have been at odds over Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which Washington says are not compatible with NATO defenses and would compromise US F-35 fighter jets, which Turkey helps build and also plans to buy.
Washington has also formally started the process of expelling Turkey from the program for F-35s, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Sanctioning Turkey and removing it from the F-35 program would be one of the most significant ruptures in recent history in the relationship between the two nations.


Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

Updated 20 min 56 sec ago
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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.