Dubai: Hazzaa AlMansoori has become the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to enter the International Space Station (ISS) after the Soyuz spacecraft carrying him and two others successfully docked at the ISS.
AlMansoori, 35, headed to space with Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir on Wednesday onboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the Khaleej Times reported.
At 5.57 p.m., the FG rocket took off from Baikonur, powering the Soyuz spacecraft that carried three-member crew.
The spacecraft successfully docked with the ISS at 11.42 p.m., three minutes ahead of schedule.
After contact was established between ground team and the astronauts on the Soyuz, AlMansoori told the Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) centre control room: "We reached safely, thank God. Hello to all my people in UAE," Gulf News reported.
From inside the ISS on Thursday morning, AlMansoori while talking to the NASA Mission Control Boston, via a video link along with the eight other astronauts, said: "I am so happy to hear your voices. I wish I could have shared what i saw with you. Beautiful scenery of sunsets and sunrises the earth.
"I say hello to our leaders, our people and all the Arabs."
The UAE is the 19th visiting country to the ISS and AlMansoori is its 240th visitor.
AlMansoori previously worked as a military pilot flying the F-16 jet before he was chosen to become the UAE's first astronaut from 4,022 candidates.
He will conduct 16 scientific experiments particularly on the effect of microgravity on the human body.
The astronaut will also conduct Earth observation and imaging and hold tour the Arab world live inside the ISS in Arabic. A traditional Emirati night is also on schedule where he will share Emirati dishes with his space colleagues.
AlMansoori will return to Earth on October 3 onboard a Soyuz MS-12 rocket that is on standby on the ISS.