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First UAE astronaut to launch to International Space Station

Almansoori himself.
Pilot Hazza Ali Almansoori. Photo: VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

An International Space Station launch scheduled for this Wednesday will include the the 1st astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to visit the site, joined by a fellow astronaut from NASA and a Russian cosmonaut, NBC News reports.

What's happening: Hazza Ali Almansoori, a pilot from the UAE's armed forces, will blast off in a Russian Soyuz rocket at 9:57 am ET on Wednesday, and arrive at 3:45 pm. The UAE initiated its space program in 2017, shooting to reach Mars by 2021 and establish a colony there by 2117.

  • Almansoori is 1 of just 2 astronauts in the UAE's budding space program.

What they're saying per the Emirates News Agency: the 2 astronauts spoke of the upcoming launch with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Monday.

"We are all proud of being representatives of our homeland on the International Space Station and raising the UAE flag onboard."
— Almansoori and his fellow Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi

Go deeper: Where the International Space Station is right now