SAASST Celebrates the Launch of the First Emirati Astronaut

29 Sep 2019

SAASST Celebrates the Launch of the First Emirati Astronaut

The Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST) at the University of Sharjah organized a celebration of the launch of the First Emirati Astronaut Hazza AlMansoori in collaboration with the UAE Space Agency. The celebration took place on Wednesday September 25th, 2019, coinciding with the launch of Astronaut AlMansoori, the pride of the UAE representing Zayed's ambition, to the International Space Station on a mission noted in history for fulfilling the dreams of the UAE. This with the aim of establishing the infrastructure of the space sector in the UAE and working on various tasks and scientific research to become part of global scientific projects and support the development of this sector since this mission falls under the «Emirates Astronauts» program.

The celebration program included an overview of the UAE space sector and the various scientific and applied research projects in the specialized centers of the UAE, including the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Science and Technology founded by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah. His Highness established SAASST as a national development project supporting the UAE space sector with its research projects and the development of space technology, in order to achieve His Highness' vision to pay attention to scientific research that serves and advances society.

Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, Director General of SAASST, and President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, welcomed the attendees during a speech on this occasion, in which he congratulated the UAE on this great achievement, which is counted by history as a step not only for the nation, but for the entire Arab world. He also gave an overview of the International Space Station and details of the launch. At the end of his speech, the Chancellor spoke to the astronaut in which he expressed the pride of the Arab world for this achievement on behalf of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences and wished him success on his mission.

For his part, Dr. Mohamed Al-Ahbabi, Director of the UAE Space Agency, said that cooperation in organizing this event comes within the objectives of the Agency to raise awareness of various national space projects as well as ensuring the participation of various segments of society in the celebration of this great national achievement of the United Arab Emirates in the arrival of the First Emirati Astronaut to the International Space Station. This, he continued, puts the country on the global space map in the field of manned space flights, and especially draws the attention of students, which are relied upon to be distinguished in the study of sciences to move on to studying space science and technology for future work in the sector to contribute to advancing their capabilities and achieving the strategic objectives of the country. This stage is considered a breakthrough in the history of the sector, which opens the way for students to benefit from it and the exceptional opportunities it offers to work within a sector that is considered one of the most important during the coming phase to enhance the welfare of the UAE and make a contribution to the global scientific efforts.

The program also included a panel discussion by Sumaya Al Hajeri, Head of Space Policies and Legislations at the UAE Space Agency, during which she talked about the main objectives of the Emirates Astronaut Program and the main messages of the program as well as shared information on the stages of preparing the UAE astronaut for the launch, the achievements of the UAE space sector and its future plans. The event also included a live broadcast of the launch of rocket "Soyuz FG" on board Astronaut Hazza AlMansoori.

The ceremony was attended by a number of Vice Chancellors, Deputy General Directors of SAASST, a large crowd of faculty, staff and students at the University of Sharjah, as well as space and astronomy enthusiasts and those interested in this historic event.

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