The UAE's and Arab world's first astronaut to ever set foot in space is nearing the final part of his eight-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Hazzaa Al Mansoori launched into space last Wednesday and has been sharing updates on his history-making trip.
Besides talking with Emirati students via live video and conducting daily experiments, Al Mansoori is also documenting his journey on video.
Earlier this week, he tweeted out his first image from the outside planet. Captioning his epic post, the spaceman wrote: "Captured aboard the ISS...my first photo of the Soyuz spacecraft."
While in space, the Emirati astronaut is living on a halal menu made up of canned and liquified versions of the UAE's most popular dishes.
On the fourth day of his journey, Al Mansoori took a video call with school students and media professionals who contacted him from the ground station at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai. During the call, the astronaut shared personal experiences, answered questions, and revealed that even in space you'll get some free time to read a favorite book.
While in space, the spaceman is set to dress up in traditional attire and host a traditional Emirati food night on board the spaceship. Al Mansoori is on his journey on board the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and American astronaut Jessica Meir.
The spaceman is currently carrying out 15 scientific experiments and is expected to return to Earth on Oct. 3.
An incredible space adventure is currently underway
Al Mansoori has also spoken out about what his daily routine on the spacecraft looks like. For one, he revealed that you can shower on a spaceship and sleep while floating. For two, he said that seeing the UAE from space was the most beautiful thing he has ever experienced. "I hope all Emiratis will be able to come and see it from space," he said.
One of the first people who contacted the astronaut during his trip was none other than Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The royal was thrilled with the call and described Al Mansoori's launch to the ISS as "only a first bold step into space for UAE."
He shared another photo, asking his followers if they recognized the location. Could it be the UAE from a 400-km altitude?
Al Mansoori and another UAE astronaut will go down in history as the country's first astronauts
At the time, Dubai's Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum explained that the duo was chosen from a pool of 4,022 contenders who applied for Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center's UAE Astronaut Program, which aimed to find the nation's first astronauts.
The UAE has long been planning for this historic feat
In 2014, the country officially established a Space Agency and set an ambitious goal of launching a probe to Mars. Two years later, the Gulf state and NASA signed a deal to work together to reach the Red Planet.
In 2016, the country set up the Emirates Mars Mission which plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to explore Mars in 2020. The journey is expected to take seven months.
One year later, the UAE announced its plans to build the first-ever city on Mars ... in about 100 years. The Mars 2117 project is part of a 100-year national program that focuses on spearheading scientific breakthroughs like the renowned Mars Mission.