Sep 24, 2019

First UAE astronaut to launch to International Space Station

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

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The UAE's long view to Mars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As the U.S., China and others focus on launching rockets and putting boots on the Moon, the tiny Gulf nation of the United Arab Emirates is set on building a settlement on Mars in 100 years.

Driving the news: Last week, the UAE sent its first astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019

Brands in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fashion, food and media brands are using the buzz around the space industry to market their products, shaping the way people on Earth understand and interact with the extraterrestrial sphere for years to come.

What's happening: Last week, Virgin Galactic announced a partnership with Under Armour to produce a line of spacewear to be worn on the company's suborbital flights to the edge of space.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019

SpaceX and Boeing unlikely to launch astronauts to orbit this year

SpaceX's uncrewed Crew Dragon mission at launch. Photo: SpaceX

Boeing and SpaceX — tasked with building spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA — are not likely to launch people to orbit before the end of the year.

Why it matters: The Commercial Crew program is tasked with ending NASA's reliance on Russia's Soyuz rocket but has faced technical delays and budget shortfalls for years, leaving the space agency dependent on Russia's spaceflight capabilities.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019