New Delhi: As UAE’s Hazza Al Mansoori on Wednesday became the first Emirati astronaut to go into space, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations and said India takes inspiration from this feat of a good and close friend for its own human space fight programme.
“I proudly watched as Hazza Al Mansouri lifted off into space. This event strengthens our confidence in our youth who will take our nation to new heights, and reinforces our ambitions for the future. We pray for Hazza’s success and his safe return home,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tweeted.
Modi, attaching the tweet, conveyed his congratulations.
“Very happy to learn of the successful start to what will surely be a fabulous journey into outer space by our brother Hazza. I laud the vision of Sheikh @MohamedBinZayed! Congratulations UAE!”
“We take inspiration from this feat of a good and close friend for our own human space flight programme which will take an Indian into space on an Indian spacecraft by the year 2022!,” Modi posted.
On Wednesday, a Russian cosmonaut and two astronauts — one from NASA and the other from the UAE — launched Wednesday to the International Space Station.
Jessica Meir of NASA, Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos (Russia’s space agency) and Hazza Ali Almansoori, one of only two astronauts in the nascent Emirati space programme, lifted off in a Russian Soyuz rocket at 9:57 a.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
They are expected to arrive at the orbiting outpost at 3:45 p.m. EDT.
Skripochka is a veteran of two missions to the space station, but it will be the first for Meir and Almansoori.
Almansoori was a pilot in the UAE armed forces before he was selected for astronaut training in 2018. The flight is part of Roscosmos’ “spaceflight participant” programme, which allows individuals who are not part of the Russian space agency to hitch a ride on short-duration flights to the ISS.
“We are all proud of being representatives of our homeland on the International Space Station and raising the UAE flag onboard,” Almansoori and his fellow Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi said in a phone call on Monday with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to the Emirates News Agency.