UAE In Space: Students ask Hazzaa how he lives and works in space

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UAE students ask questions in a live radio call with the first Emirati in space Astranaut Hazza Al Mansouri from the International Space Station held at MBRSC in Dubai.

Dubai: UAE school students asked Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri how he eats and sleeps in space, among other questions, during a live radio call between Dubai’s Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday.

Al Mansouri became the UAE’s first astronaut after lifting off from Kazakhstan last Wednesday for the ISS in Earth’s orbit. On Friday, he held a video conference with UAE students as well as His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at MBRSC.

On Saturday, during the call, which lasted around 10 minutes, around seven Emirati students managed to ask Al Mansouri a variety of questions. The eighth student, who had asked about the astronaut’s feelings before the launch, did not receive a response as the call ended, despite several attempts to get through again.

Daily routine

When asked about his daily routine, Al Mansouri said there is a timetable and tasks for each “day” – ISS goes through 16 sunrises and sunsets in a day’s worth of time on Earth. After breakfast, everyone on ISS goes about their responsibilities for the day.

He assured another student there was plenty of food on board, which is also sent up from Earth periodically.

There is also medicine for all kinds of illness, although the ISS is “disease free”, the UAE astronaut told a third student.

‘Needs more salt’

When asked about space food, Al Mansouri said the meals could use more salt, pepper and sugar to his liking. He also pointed out that drinking liquids in the microgravity of space is less straightforward and the beverages don’t go down as quickly as on Earth.

What does he do in his free time?

Al Mansouri said he hardly gets any spare time but he when he does, he likes to take in the out-of-this-world views of the Earth, especially the beauty of the UAE when the ISS passes over it.

He also loves floating about the ISS and sleeping in space. Attending the event were students, families and officials. Anuradha Nair, a grade 11 student of The Indian High School, Dubai, said the QnA shed light on many of her queries about living in space.

“I liked the event. Everyone at our school is following Hazzaa and many of us are attending these interactive sessions, which are happening for the first in the UAE,” she added.

Abdul Hamid Al Awadhi, an Emirati employee of Emirates Post Group said it was interesting to see people talk over radio rather than through mobile phones.

“I think radio communication still has its place on Earth, like when you go fishing on the open sea or hunting in the desert. There’s even an association about it in the UAE,” Al Awadhi said.