First Arab on ISS returns to Earth



A three-man crew including an Emirati who became the first Arab to reach the International Space Station returned to Earth safely yesterday and were in good shape, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said. Hazzaa Al-Mansoori of the United Arab Emirates touched down in the Kazakh steppes at 1059 GMT along with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived a failed launch to the ISS last year.Hague and Ovchinin completed a 203-day mission aboard the lab while Mansoori’s two crewmates from his September 25 launch-Russia’s Oleg Skripochka and NASA’s Jessica Meir-are staying on as part of a six-member team.

Although Mansoori’s mission was short – eight days in total-it has been the source of great pride in the UAE, a newcomer to the world of space with ambitions to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021. Mansoori has been active on Twitter where he shared photos of the UAE and Mecca-Islam’s holiest site-from the space station. Yesterday, he posted a view of space taken from the orbiting station’s Cupola panoramic observatory module and paid tribute to UAE founding father Sheikh Zayed.

The ISS-a rare example of cooperation between Russia and the West-has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometers an hour since 1998.