Emirati astronauts raise UAE flag in Baikonur before taking it to space
BAIKONUR. KAZINFORM Emirati astronauts, Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, raised the UAE flag during the flag-raising ceremony held for the countries participating in the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, including the UAE, Russia, and the United States, WAM reports.
Oleg Skripochka and Jessica Meir from the main crew, and Sergei Nikolaevich and Thomas Henry from the back-up crew also participated in the ceremony.
This is part of the pre-launch preparations for the mission on Wednesday, 25th September, 2019, and as per the tradition of the astronauts prior to the launch, on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The main crew and the back-up crew also visited the Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum, which includes space equipment and miniature models of rockets that have been launched into space.
They also signed the wall of Sergei Korolev, the lead Soviet rocket engineer in the 1940s and 1950s, at the museum.
Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi arrived in Baikonur on 10th September, 2019. On 11th September, they conducted several tests to ensure the readiness of the Sokol spacesuit, which they would wear inside the Soyuz spacecraft during the launch trip to the ISS and the return trip from the ISS back to Earth.
The main crew and the back-up crew also conducted the first fit-check of the Soyuz MS-15 to ensure that the devices, equipment, and payload were in place, and to record any observations for the engineers responsible for the spacecraft.
The mission is part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which is overseen by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The UAE Astronaut Programme is the first integrated programme in the Arab region to prepare national cadres to participate in human space flights and carry out various scientific missions, in addition to becoming a part of the research carried out by the global scientific community to devise solutions to the many challenges facing humanity.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the TRA. Launched in 2007, this fund, the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims at supporting research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE, helping it grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world.