Hazza Al-Mansoori returns to Earth after historic UAE space mission

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Russian Space Agency rescue team members and Emirati specialists carry Hazzaa Al-Mansoori shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan on October 3, 2019. (AFP)
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Hazza Al-Mansoori was the first Arab to dock at the International Space Station. (Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center/Twitter)
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United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Al-Mansoori reacts shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan on October 3, 2019. (AFP)
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Russian Space Agency rescue team members and Emirati specialists carry Hazzaa Al-Mansoori shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan on October 3, 2019. (AFP)
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United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa al-Mansoori gives the thumbs-up shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan on October 3, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2019

Hazza Al-Mansoori returns to Earth after historic UAE space mission

  • The Emirati astronaut spent eight days in space since the liftoff on Sept. 25

DUBAI:  Emirati astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori landed safely on Earth on Thursday after eight days in orbit on the International Space Station, and immediately wrapped himself in the UAE flag.

Al-Mansoori, 35, touched down in the Kazakh steppes with US astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, and all three were placed on fold-out chairs for rest and preliminary medical checks.

“The crew that returned to Earth is feeling well,” the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

 

 

Before the astronauts’ module undocked from the space station, Al-Mansoori posted a view of space taken from the station’s Cupola panoramic observatory module, and paid tribute to UAE founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.

“With fear and pride, I am returning with Zayed’s ambition achieved, to bring back the golden era of Arab astronauts. But we are not done yet, and we will never be.”

Earlier he wore a traditional Emirati kandura, treated crew members to his favorite snacks, took part in scientific experiments and published photos of the UAE and Makkah.

Al-Mansoori’s mission has made him a hero in the UAE, where a huge crowd turned up at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai to watch the launch on Sept. 25.

The UAE has ambitious space plans. It launched its first locally made satellite, KhalifaSat, from Japan a year ago, and intends to launch a probe to Mars in 2020.

 

“Congratulations to the people of the UAE for this historic achievement,” Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, said after Al-Mansoori landed. “Zayed’s sons will fulfil our ambition to reach Mars.”

(With AFP)

 

Watch the official NASA stream here:

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Archaeologists unearth 27 coffins buried 2,500 years ago in Egyptian tomb

Updated 22 September 2020

Archaeologists unearth 27 coffins buried 2,500 years ago in Egyptian tomb

  • Egyptian antiquities officials believe the discovery to be the largest of its kind in the region

CAIRO: Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered 27 coffins that were buried more than 2,500 years ago in a pharaonic cemetery.

The sarcophagi were found at the Saqqara site in the governorate of Giza, south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Egyptian antiquities officials believe the discovery to be the largest of its kind in the region. Saqqara was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Initial studies indicate that the coffins and shrouds inside have remained tightly sealed since burial, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

The discovery was part of an Egyptian dig in the Saqqara area which unearthed an 11-meter-deep well containing colorfully painted wooden coffins stacked on top of each other along with other smaller artefacts.

Khaled Al-Anani, the Egyptian minister of antiquities, postponed announcing the discovery until he could visit the site himself, where he thanked teams for working in difficult conditions.

Ahmed Abdel Aziz, a professor of pharaonic archeology at a private university, said: “This new discovery is not the first in the Saqqara archaeological area. Archaeological discoveries have increased over the past years which draw attention to this region.

“This prompted many archaeological missions from many countries to work in this region, trying to probe the depths of this region and the treasures hidden inside it.”

Al-Anani said the increase in archaeological discoveries and the number of projects recently implemented by the Ministry of Antiquities were down to political will and exceptional support from the Egyptian government.

He pointed out the importance of resuming the work of 300 archaeological missions from 25 countries after a hiatus of a number of years, including some working in Egypt for the first time such as the joint Egyptian Chinese archaeological mission.

There were about 50 Egyptian missions working at sites in governorates throughout the country and Al-Anani praised their efforts in helping to unearth more evidence of ancient Egyptian civilization.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, said that Saqqara was one of the most promising historical areas when it came to archaeological discoveries, adding that he planned to continue working in the area with his mission members to uncover more secrets and treasures of the past.

He noted that new finds during the current excavation season would have a positive impact on tourism in Egypt at locations such as Giza, Saqqara, Luxor, and Aswan.

Mohamed Abdel Hamid, vice president of the Egyptian Association for Tourism and Archaeological Development, said that the discovery was a testament to the architectural development of the area that could be seen in King Djoser’s collection. The pharaoh was found in a step pyramid which was the first tomb in Egypt to be built using stones.