BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Reuters) – A Russian Soyuz spaceship blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the direction of the International Space Station on Wednesday carrying a crew of three, together with the primary astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.
Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori, Russian commander Oleg Skripochka, and flight engineer Jessica Meir of NASA are anticipated to dock with the space station about six hours later.
AlMansoori, 35, a former fighter jet pilot, will spend eight days aboard the station, changing into the primary Arab to go to the large scientific laboratory orbiting the Earth.
He plans to hold out a collection of experiments, maintain a number of stay space-to-Earth classes and host an Emirati meals evening carrying the standard nationwide clothes, the UAE authorities have stated.
Hours earlier than launch, AlMansoori collectively with crewmates obtained a blessing from a Russian orthodox priest in line with Russian space custom, though in contrast to the 2 others he was spared from being sprinkled with holy water.
Smiling, AlMansoori made a Winston Churchill-style V hand signal whereas standing on the steps resulting in the elevator which took the crew to their capsule.
The new crew’s arrival will increase the ISS headcount to 9 – for the primary time in 4 years – till AlMansoori and two astronauts from a earlier expedition return to earth on Oct.3.
Reporting by Shamil Zhumatov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean