From left to right: United Arab Emirates' astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka at a press conference in Star City, outside Moscow, Sept. 5, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Kirill Kudryavtsev-AFP-Getty Images)
From left to right: United Arab Emirates' astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka at a press conference in Star City, outside Moscow, Sept. 5, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Kirill Kudryavtsev-AFP-Getty Images)

Jewish and Arab astronauts head to space together

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.”

JTA

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