On Thursday, Hazzaa AlMansoori will arrive back on Earth at 3 pm, ending his historic eight-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Russian commander Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague will also be returning with him. Their Soyuz MS-12 descent module is likely to land southeast of the remote town of Zhezqazghan, in Kazakhstan, roughly 700-km away from where Hazzaa took off from in Baikonur, over a week ago.

Salem Al Merri, Assistant Director-General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), told Gulf News from Moscow, Russia, “The landing should take place at around 3 pm Dubai time, and procedures [to begin descent] usually start about three and a half hours before that.” 

“They have a small ceremony of course and the Soyuz hatch will be closed and then they will do some procedures inside before they will undock.”

“Once they land, they will be extracted from the capsule. They’ll be placed in chairs outside of the capsule to rest and relax for about 30 minutes. Then they will go to the medical tent where some medical procedures will be done and they will remove their spacesuit,” Al Merri explained.

“After around 30 to 45 minutes, we will board the helicopters together with Hazzaa. We will then go with Hazzaa to Karaganda Airport and from there they have another medical room and possibly a press conference depending on their condition,” he continued.

Hazza and the MBRSC team, after finishing all procedures in Kazakhstan will board a plane to Moscow for further post-mission medical check-ups. “We will stay in Moscow until the 11th or until the 14th of October, either of those dates. We have not finalized the date yet,” added Al Merri.

Al Merri was aked what Hazza will do on his final day in space to which Al Merri said, “The rest of his schedule is basically continuing the science, continuing the different activities he has there. This includes some video recording. There’s also the handing over ceremony to Luca Parmitano as the commander of the ISS,” Al Merri explained.

“It’s business as usual. He’s very busy up there and doing great.”

While having an interaction with Hazza with the media, Hazza said, “I actually received a very very warm welcome from my counterparts. It was really a huge welcome because a new astronaut from a new country is joining them on the ISS. We even held a traditional Emirati Night where I highlighted the UAE’s history and achievements.”

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