|19 September, 2019

Space Travel: National Geographic documents UAE's journey to the stars

The film "Reach for The Stars" will be broadcast on Thursday, September 19 at 8pm on National Geographic Abu Dhabi

Emirati Astronauts countdown to ISS Space Mission take-off on September 25, 2019. Images courtesy Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and National Geographic channel.

Emirati Astronauts countdown to ISS Space Mission take-off on September 25, 2019. Images courtesy Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and National Geographic channel.

For the first time ever in the history of human space travel, Hazza AlMansoori will be setting a new milestone by becoming the first UAE astronaut.

UAE's dedication to its space mission has been documented in detail by National Geographic channel in partnership with Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

Reach for The Stars, the first part of a 4-part docu-series, is dedicated to UAE’s space mission. The film, which will be premiering tonight on National Geographic channel, will chronicle UAE's journey into space and its developing success, through the MBRSC. 

It will be broadcast tonight (September 19) at 8pm UAE time ahead of the International Space Station (ISS) Mission take-off on September 25, with Hazzaa AlMansoori as the first Emirati and only Arab aboard. Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi will also be present at the launch, acting as reserve astronaut for the entire Mission.

National Geographic's film is accompanied by short vignettes with exclusive coverage on the astronauts’ final preparations for their upcoming Mission.

With the imminent space mission launch scheduled for September 25, the vignettes spotlights AlMansoori and AlNeyadi’s intensive training with prime and backup flight crews in Russia, after completing training with the European Space Agency and NASA.

The film describes upcoming journeys extending over the next 20 years. It introduces viewers to one of the UAE’s most daring projects to date, the 2020 Hope probe, part of the Emirates Mars Mission due to reach the Red planet by 2021, commemorating 50 years since the UAE’s inception.

Image supplied by National Geographic

Hazza AlMansoori moved from his hometown within the Liwa desert, to make his dreams of space exploration come true. “I remember in grade four I read in my school book about an Arab astronaut, Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, and I thought that’s it – it’s possible for me. That’s why I applied to join the air force – it felt a little bit closer to the stars,” he said.

The father of four, graduate of Khalifa bin Zayed Air College and former military pilot, hopes to inspire the nation by hoisting the UAE flag inside the ISS on September 25. “It will be a great honor to be the first Emirati astronaut to reach the ISS.”

Image supplied by National Geographic

Sultan AlNeyadi, who holds a PhD in Information Technology Data Leakage Prevention from Griffith University, talked about his space ambitions as well.  “I believe that our journey is just a continuation of what our ancestors started.  They studied the stars for centuries and gave them many Arabic names. When we explore space and raise the UAE flag on board the ISS, we are the nation’s ambassadors. We hope to accomplish this mission perfectly.”

The show premieres on National Geographic Abu Dhabi at 8pm UAE time/7pm KSA time on September 19, with repeated airings on September 22 at 10pm UAE time/9pm KSA time and on September 23 at 8pm UAE time/7pm KSA time.

UAE's ambitious space goals

In 2014, the UAE established a space agency and revealed an ambitious goal of launching a probe to Mars.

In 2016, the UAE and NASA signed a pact to work together to reach Mars. In the same year, the Emirates Mars Mission was set up to send an unmanned spacecraft to explore the red planet in 2020. 

In 2017, the UAE unveiled plans to build the first-ever city on Mars. 

(Writing by Mily Chakrabarty, editing by Seban Scaria)


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© ZAWYA 2019

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