UAE astronaut makes history as first Arab aboard ISS
Russia's Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft carrying three astronauts took off in Kazakhstan for the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos said.
Roscosmos broadcast live the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the spacecraft with an international team consisting of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, and the first space traveler from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hazzaa Ali Almansoori.
Mansoori, 35, received support from around the world ahead of what he described as his "dream" mission.
"After the incident we were more confident with the preparedness of the mission," al-Mansoori told the Associated Press in a previous interview. "In case of any failure there is equipment onboard the rocket to ensure the safety of the crew, which made us more confident that the system works with a high level of adequacy."
That incident happened October 11, 2018, which saw a Soyuz-FG rocket carrying U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin fail shortly after launch due to a damaged sensor. The two men landed safely in Kazakhstan.
"Since I'm a pilot, I was able to withstand a gravitational force of 9-G," al-Mansoori said. "Now I must train in this sort of gravitational force, 0-G, the lack of gravity.”
The team will be greeted by ISS commander Alexei Ovchinin of Roscosmos, another Russian cosmonaut, Alexander Skvortsov, NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan, as well as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano.
The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft will deliver 180 kilograms of cargo to the station, including equipment for the U.S. segment spacewalking activities and equipment for the ESA and UAE space flight participants.
The cargo also includes equipment for conducting space experiments, medical, biological and geophysical research, life support means, and 10 kilograms of fresh vegetables and fruits.