Jewish and Arab astronauts head to space together

Hazzaa al-Mansoori, 35, of the United Arab Emirates and Jessica Meir, an American, took off on the historic trip from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

By SAM SOKOL/JTA
September 26, 2019 05:31
Jewish and Arab astronauts head to space together

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly captured an aurora from the International Space Station in this NASA handout photo taken on June 23, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The first Arab to visit the International Space Station launched there on Wednesday with the daughter of an Israeli father.

Hazzaa al-Mansoori, 35, of the United Arab Emirates and Jessica Meir, an American, took off on the historic trip from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz rocket. They will remain on the orbiting station until Oct. 3.

Aal-Mansoori will not be the first Muslim on the space station, according to the French news agency AFP.



“The dream has come true,” he was quoted as saying at a news conference Wednesday. “As a fighter pilot I already prayed in my aircraft.”



AFP quoted Meir as praising al-Mansoori’s achievement and quipping that while astronauts usually communicate in a melange of Russian and English, “we still need to work on our Arabic.”


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