UAE astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori wants another Emirati to take on the next space mission as he wants to spread the knowledge he gained during his eight-day stay in space.
AlMansoori was speaking at the post-flight press conference that was held alongside cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin at Star City, Russia, on Wednesday, October 9.
The 35-year-old former military fighter jet pilot returned from the International Space Station on October 3. He has insisted that he his feeling healthier now after the passing of the post-flight symptoms. These mainly include nausea, dizziness and the sense of orientation gets affected.
"Next time, I hope it (the astronaut) will be a different person from my country. Now, my mission is to transfer this knowledge I gained from the training and onboard the station to the next person and I hope he'll do better than me," AlMansoori said.
The UAE Space Agency Chairman, Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Falasi, has been quoted previously as saying that Sultan Al Neyadi - AlMansoori's backup - will be sent on a space mission in the "near future".
"I'm feeling good and everything is fine for me. If you go there for the first time, you'll experience something new. For me, personally, I adapted well. After the flight, I had normal symptoms and after two days it vanished but now I'm really good and I'm doing my daily activities normally."
All returning astronauts and cosmonauts struggle to walk properly as their brains are re-adapting to the force of gravity. Khaleej Times met AlMansoori at Karaganda Airport just three hours after he had landed and he was being assisted by UAE space officials and appeared a bit dazed, though he was able to answer all media questions efficiently. In his most recent press conference, he appears more sharp and focused.
Speaking about the experiments he had done onboard and the remaining ones which he's doing on Earth, he said: "It was very important for the scientists and researchers to see the results, especially because I was the first Arab to participate onboard the ISS. Everyone knows the genes differ from region to region and it was the first of its kind from ours."
Even though he's busy recovering and carrying out the remaining experiments, he said he misses the crew onboard the ISS. "They asked me earlier what I'd miss most after returning, I told them I'd miss the microgravity. But right when I undocked, the thing I felt most was saying goodbye to my friends onboard the station," AlMansoori said.
He added that this mission was just the beginning for UAE's space journey and hopes that many more will follow.
"Our message is to create a role model in the Arab region, like we saw in Yuri Gagarin and we always speak about him being first in space and he really inspired us. Now, UAE has its own astronaut and it's a great message to the next generation. And I promise that each child that saw us on the ISS, he or she will be something in the future. I hope this is just the beginning and other countries will also be interested in participating in this space exploration," he said.
AlMansoori is expected to be back in the UAE sometime this month for a grand homecoming.
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