In a nostalgic tweet by Hazzaa AlMansoori on Tuesday, the UAE’s first astronaut celebrates the anniversary of the first human space flight by Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin.
The International Day of Human Space Flight is marked as the annual celebration, held on April 12 every year.
Yuri Gagarin crewed the Vostok 1 mission in 1961, completing one orbit around Earth over 108 minutes in the Vostok 3KA spacecraft, launched on a Vostok-K rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, then part of USSR.
Hazzaa posted a picture of his along with his fellow astronauts Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and American flight engineer Jessica Meir, who went to space with him in 2019 onboard a Soyuz MS-15.
Hazzaa tweeted, “A moment so highly regarded and cherished took place on this day in 1961, when the 1st #astronaut arrived in space.
Words cannot express my pride in having experienced it, and nothing motivates me more than continuing this journey and pursuing my dream of space exploration.”
Currently, the UAE’s first two astronauts, Hazza Al Mansouri and his back up colleague Sultan Al Neyadi are being clued-up for future space missions as they train at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre.
Also, taking to Twitter to commemorate this day, Salem AlMarri, Director General of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space posted pictures of Yuri Gagarin, his moon walk alongside UAE’s four astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri, Sultan Al Neyadi, Nora AlMatrooshi, and Mohammad Al Mulla.
AlMarri tweeted, “Space has been welcoming humans for over 60 years. Since then, humanity has made discoveries that have advanced the quest for exploration. Space was once a competitive arena; it is now an opportunity for global collaboration towards a future marked by the pursuit of science.”
In this video Nora and Mohammad are seen saying, “The Apollo 11 Mission is when humanity took their first steps on the Moon. The Emirates Mars Mission as well as the Mars Orbit Insertion have made history in the UAE. The biggest challenge we’ve faced is that this is our first time, but we are fully prepared and completed all training successfully up to this point (Nora). The amount of responsibility we have while representing the UAE in the space sector is a challenge for me that well outweigh our astronaut training (Mohammad).”
Reflecting on what unites astronauts, Nora says: “What binds us together is our common aspiration to go on new exploration.” Mohammad says: “Pursuing the successful journey which previous astronauts started.”
They also highlight that the importance of space collaboration lies in the fact that the “benefits of the space industry do not serve just one person, they benefit all of humanity…strengthening country-to-country and people-to-people ties in order to make fresh discoveries that serve humanity.”