By Mohammed Siddiq M, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Dubai: Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut, had taken off from Kazakhstan on the 25th of September, 2019, for an 8 days space expedition and is scheduled to return back to earth on Thursday, 3rd of October, 2019, at 4 p.m., UAE standard time on one of the three identified landing spots in Kazakhstan. During his stay there, he carried out a total of 16 biological, physical, and geological experiments, including a few on himself in order to compare the results obtained in space at microgravity conditions with the results obtained on earth.
On the 5th day of his stay in space, i.e. Monday, he had held two live sessions to demonstrate the use of robots and answer questions asked by Emirati students studying in Japan. He had demonstrated how free flying robots function in microgravity and also explained how different robots perform different tasks specified for them. The usage of robots and analyzing their functions in space is a joint project taken up by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space centre and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The Emirati astronaut also explained how the JEM camera robot works aboard the ISS.
On the 6th day of his stay in space, i.e. Tuesday, he became the first person to swap his space suit with the Emirati traditional dress, i.e. Kandora, and hosted the first Emirati food night. He opted to wear a Hamdaniya, a more casual head wrap, over a Ghutra (A type of head cloth) and an Igal (A band or series of cords used to hold a ghutra in place on the head) in order to avoid his garments from floating away due to zero gravity.
He captures images of UAE from space
On day 6, he managed to capture an image of the UAE from space which was one of the highlights of his trip to the ISS. Considering the fact that the ISS travels at a speed of 7km per second, capturing a convincing shot was surely a difficult task to complete. However, as the ISS completes an orbit around the Earth every 90 minutes, which gave him ample number of opportunities to get the perfect click.
“From the happiest astronaut to the happiest nation…this is history, this is the UAE from space,” he tweeted on Tuesday evening.
The Emirati astronaut also took a moment to clarify how water is received on the ISS. He said that water is delivered via cargo, which is similar to the Soyuz spacecraft that is used to carry astronauts to the ISS. He said the steam is collected from the station and converted to water. He also mentioned the few changes his body went through in space, such as, the size of his head growing bigger due to the rush of fluids upwards, the change in sense of smell, etc. However, he adapted and got used to the changes after some time.
His return to earth will be the most anticipated event in the UAE as he created history in a span of 8 days.