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First Arab astronaut to reach International Space Station returns to Earth

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — A three-man crew including an Emirati who became the first Arab to reach the International Space Station returned to Earth safely today and were in good shape, the Russian space agency Roscosmos says.

Hazzaa al-Mansoori of the United Arab Emirates touched down in the Kazakh steppes along with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived a failed launch to the ISS last year.

“The crew that returned to Earth is feeling well,” Roscosmos says immediately after the landing.

Russian Space Agency rescue team members and United Arab Emirates specialists carry Emirati astronaut Hazzaa al-Mansoori shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, on October 3, 2019. (Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool/AFP)

Roscosmos footage from the landing site in central Kazakhstan shows Mansoori smiling as he sits wrapped in an Emirati flag after leaving the capsule.

Hague and Ovchinin completed a 203-day mission aboard the orbiting laboratory while Mansoori’s two crewmates from his September 25 launch — Russia’s Oleg Skripochka and NASA’s Jessica Meir — are staying on as part of a six-member team.

Although Mansoori’s mission was short — eight days in total — it has been the source of great pride in the UAE, a newcomer to the world of space with ambitions to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021.

— AFP

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