WATCH: Soyuz spacecraft carrying the UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori dock with International Space Station

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This photo provided by NASA astronaut Christina Koch shows the launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket, as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Christina Koch/NASA via AP)
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International Space Station (ISS) crew member, UAE astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori waves as he boards the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft before its blasts off for the ISS, on Wednesday at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (AFP)
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The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-15 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazza Al-Mmansoori. (AP)
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the Soyuz MS-15 spaceship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) streaks into the sky during liftoff at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome. (AP/Nasa)
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The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-15 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazza Al-Mmansoori. (AP)
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Members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS) (from L) United Arab Emirates' astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and US astronaut Jessica Meir report to Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin (R) arrive to board a Soyuz rocket to the ISS, at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 25, 2019. (AFP)
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Emiratis in Abu Dhabi watch a live broadcast of a Russian Soyuz MS-15, that took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Emirati Astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori and two other astronauts heading to the International Space Station. (AP)
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People watch screens showing a Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft lifting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying 35-year-old Emirati astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori to spend eight days aboard the International Space Station, at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai on September 25, 2019. (AFP)
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Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri waves to people as he leaves his hotel for a pre-launch preparation at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25, 2019. He’s the first Arab on the International Space Station. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP)
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Members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), (From L) United Arab Emirates' astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and US astronaut Jessica Meir leave their hotel. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP)
Updated 26 September 2019

WATCH: Soyuz spacecraft carrying the UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori dock with International Space Station

  • Abu Dhabi Crown Prince says Al-Mansoori has taken the UAE to new heights
  • The Soyuz docked with the ISS over the southern pacific after a six hour journey into space

 

MISSION CONTROL, Moscow: The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft carrying the first Emirati astronaut docked with the International Space Station on Wednesday after launching into space six hours earlier from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Hazza Al-Mansoori from the UAE, Jessica Meir from the US and veteran Russian commander Oleg Skripochka, took off a few minutes before 5pm Saudi time (2pm GMT) to carry them to the International Space Station.

They docked with the ISS at 10:42 p.m. Saudi time (7:42 p.m. GMT) above the southern Pacific Ocean, and the hatch between the two will be opened about two hours later.

The team at the RKA Mission Control Center, located in Korolyov near Moscow, Russia, congratullated the three crew members on a successful and "simply amazing" docking.

Arab News witnessed an exciting day of action inside Mission Control, with a dramatic blast off earlier in teh day. Staff applauded as the spacecraft passed through its crucial phases and passed through the earth's upper atmosphere. 

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said he was proud to see Al-Mansoori head towards the International Space Station taking the UAE to “new heights”.

Just hours ahead of the launch, Al-Mansoori tweeted that he was filled with an “indescribable feeling of glory.

“Today I carry the dreams and ambition of my country to a whole new dimension,” he said.

The center, which has an active control room for the International Space Station, checked the spacecraft’s trajectory until its successful docking about six hours after take off. Al-Mansoori’s watched the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. 

In the UAE, Emiratis closely followed the launch, which was played on big screens in Dubai.

“We are very proud of him,” said an Emirati, who had driven with a friend from the emirate of Ajman to Dubai to watch the liftoff on a big screen at City Walk.  

The launch places the UAE’s first astronaut in space as part of the country’s ambitious space program, and he will be the Arab world’s third. The first, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, travelled to space in 1985 aboard NASA’s Discovery space shuttle.




the Soyuz MS-15 spaceship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) streaks into the sky during liftoff at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome. (AP/Nasa)

With the help of Russia's Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities’ “spaceflight participant” program, Al-Mansoori, along with a number of non-NASA astronauts, is being given a change to fly into space for a few days and participate in various scientific activities on the ISS.

Baikonur, built at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, is a busy spaceport with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched regularly. A partnership between NASA and the RKA and various other space agencies has seen the launch of many astronauts from there throughout the years. 




Emiratis in Abu Dhabi watch a live broadcast of a Russian Soyuz MS-15, that took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Emirati Astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori and two other astronauts heading to the International Space Station. (AP)

The number of international astronauts, with exception of the Chinese, riding the Soyuz rockets increased greatly in 2011 after the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle program, with countries shifting reliance to Russia to get their crew up to the ISS. 

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft and rockets are well-regarded for their ability to launch in about any weather, which was considered a hindrance with NASA’s space shuttles.

Russia’s space program long predates those of other space agencies. In fact, it kicked off the first space race by launching the world’s first satellite, Sputnik on Oct. 4, 1957.

On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space, with his flight lasting 108 minutes as he circled the Earth for a little more than one orbit aboard the Vostok spacecraft.

When a Saudi went to space
Prince Sultan bin Salman speaks exclusively to Arab News about his 1985 NASA mission and how he became the first Arab, Muslim and royal in space

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Algeria to ease coronavirus restrictions on Sunday

Updated 47 min 48 sec ago

Algeria to ease coronavirus restrictions on Sunday

  • The North African country has so far reported 9,831 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 681 deaths

ALGIERS: Algeria will resume some economic activities and allow a number of businesses to reopen from Sunday as part of a plan to end the coronavirus lockdown, the prime minister's office said on Thursday.
It said the government would allow the construction and public works sector to resume activity to help ease the impact of the coronavirus-linked restrictions imposed in March.
The government will also permit the reopening of businesses such as home appliances, vegetable and fruit markets, pastries and men's barbershops.
The second stage of the lockdown relaxation will start on June 14, allowing more businesses to resume, the government said, without giving details.
“The success of the plan to resume economic activity remains dependent on the ability of merchants and operators to ensure the safety of their employees and customers,” the prime minister's office said.
The North African country has so far reported 9,831 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 681 deaths.