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Hazzaa Al Mansoori’s love for outer space and celestial bodies was prominent since he was a child, and spent several years at Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi, stargazing and catching a glimpse of the meteors away from the city. His fascination with space and aviation had only begun and led him towards the aviation industry, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in aviation from Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College. After graduating, Al Mansoori became a a fighter pilot at the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces due to a lack of space programs in the country. However, that didn’t discourage the prodigy, as he kept diligently striving towards his dreams and gained the title of a Major at the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Eventually, he became the youngest F-16 fighter jet pilot in the UAE, upon completion of rigorous training from Arizona, United States.

Not too long after Al Mansoori’s career advancements, his career as an astronaut started to progress as Sheikh Mohammand Bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted a statement encouraging young Emiratis to apply for the UAE Astronaut Programme through the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The space enthusiast with a very strong background was selected among 4022 candidates after passing meticulous tests conducted in both UAE and Russia.

After several months of training in Russia, Al Mansoori was selected to go on an eight-day scientific escapade to the International Space Station (ISS) alongside two other astronauts, Jessica Meir from the USA and Oleg Skripochka from Russia. The trio began their journey on the 25th of September and returned on the 3rd of October in 2019, Al Mansoori was greeted by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the current president of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi. During his time in space, he conducted several experiments with UAE school students, filmed the first-ever ISS tour in Arabic for everyone back home and gained the honourable title of becoming the first ever Emirati astronaut.

Most recently, Al Mansoori was invited along with fellow astronaut Susan Kilrain to host a talk at the Museum Of Future, where the duo discussed everything about their journey to space along with their thoughts regarding the future of space travel. Al Mansoori has encouraged other Emiratis to dream big and work hard to “live the impossible,” and we hope to see a lot more Emirati astronauts in the future.