Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori has returned to Earth. After eight days in space Al Mansoori, the country’s first astronaut, touched down safely in...

Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori has returned to Earth.

After eight days in space Al Mansoori, the country’s first astronaut, touched down safely in Kazakhstan this afternoon (Thursday) just before 3pm (Dubai time).

Footage broadcast by Russia’s space agency showed the Soyuz MS-12 capsule carrying Al Mansoori, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin land on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Although Mansoori’s mission was a short one, it has still been the source of great pride in the UAE, a newcomer to the world of space with ambitions to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021.

Mansoori’s blast-off from the launchpad that sent Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space was roared on by a large crowd at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, where he has been feted as a hero.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, lit up at the moment of the launch.

Mansoori has been active on Twitter where he posted photos of the UAE and Makkah – Islam’s holiest site – from the space station.

He has donned Emirati dress on board, treated crew members to local snacks and participated in scientific experiments including a time-perception study that saw him sport a blindfold.

In a question-and-answer session with Emirati schoolchildren, the father of four said a call to his mother would be his top priority at the end of his journey back from the ISS.

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