UAE astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri on Wednesday posted a stunning aerial view of Makkah, Islam’s holiest site — from the space station.
He shared a stunning picture of the Grand Mosque (Masjid Al Haram) from his official Instagram handle @astro_hazzaa, with the caption: ‘as the place that lives in the hearts of Muslims and they turn to for prayers.’ “An incredible image of Mecca from the @iss.”
On Tuesday, he had shared another picture of the UAE from space.
An Emirati who made history as the first Arab to reach the International Space Station, Mansouri is set to return to Earth on Thursday following an eight-day mission that sparked euphoria in his homeland.
He also donned the traditional Emirati dress on board, treated crew members to local snacks and participated in scientific experiments including a time-perception study that saw him sport a blindfold.
Mansoori’s blast-off from the launchpad that sent Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space was roared on by a large crowd at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, where he has been feted as a hero.
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, lit up at the moment of the launch.
The 35-year-old former military pilot’s whirlwind mission has had wall-to-wall coverage in Arab media.
The ISS — a rare example of cooperation between Russia and the West — has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres (17,000 miles) an hour since 1998.