The first Arab to visit the International Space Station launched there on Wednesday with the American daughter of an Israeli father.
Hazzaa al-Mansoori, 35, of the United Arab Emirates and Jessica Meir took off on the historic trip from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz rocket. They will remain on the orbiting station until Oct. 3.
Al-Mansoori will not be the first Muslim on the space station.
“The dream has come true,” he said at a news conference Wednesday. “As a fighter pilot I already prayed in my aircraft.”
“Of course in space it will look a little different. I plan to record a prayer as I go down to earth,” he told Gulf News.
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.”