File photo of Hazza Al Mansouri. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
Hazza Al Mansouri stepped into a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, before blasting off to become the first Emirati to travel into space.
It is quite fitting that Al Mansouri will travel into space during the UAE's Year of Tolerance, and he will plant thirty Ghaf tree seeds in celebration – the tree that symbolises the mark of 2019.
Al Mansouri will participate in scientific experiments on board the International Space Station, and will serve to represent the great technological advancement that the UAE has achieved.
"Our nation is greatly inspired by those who are at the forefront of space technology, such as China and its recent Chang'e 4 mission, which has the honor of the first soft landing on the far side of the Moon," ambassador of the UAE to China, Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, said.
"Like China, the UAE aspires to conduct missions to Mars. The Emirates Mars Mission will blast off from Earth during July 2020 and is set to arrive at Mars in 2021, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE."
The ambassador also spoke of cooperation with China, saying, "Our country looks forward to future opportunities with China in this field and is proud to join the growing family of technologically advanced nations exploring space."