Baikonur, Kazakhstan, 18 September 2019: Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori planted a tree in Cosmonaut Grove at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This is part of the pre-launch activities before the mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, September 25.
This was done following the tradition of astronauts who travel to space for the first time. This tradition dates back to 1961, when Yuri Gagarin, the first person to fly into space, planted a tree just before the flight. Since then, several astronauts have followed this tradition prior to their first flights.
The mission is part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which is overseen by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). 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 many challenges facing humanity.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the TRA. Launched in 2007, this fund, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims towards supporting research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE, helping it to grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, founded in 2006, is home to the UAE National Space Programme. The Centre builds and operates earth observation satellites, offering imaging and data analysis services to clients around the world. The Centre launched DubaiSat-1, DubaiSat-2, and recently launched KhalifaSat on 29 October 2018 from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. KhalifaSat was developed 100% in the UAE by a team of highly qualified Emirati engineers. The Centre is responsible for the development of the Emirates Mars Mission and the Mars Hope Probe, a mission to reach Mars orbit by 2021 and gather key science data about Mars’ atmosphere, as well as the UAE Astronaut Programme and the development of the Mars 2117 vision to build a human colony on Mars.
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