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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

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.