Zayed University Welcomes MBRSC Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori for a Remarkable "ZU Spotlight" Experience

01 Feb 2024

Zayed University (ZU) proudly welcomed renowned astronautHazzaa AlMansoori, Astronauts Office Manager at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), to its campus in Dubai for an unprecedented educational event – "ZU Spotlight." The live interview event, organized by students for Zayed University’s College of Interdisciplinary Studies, was aimed at bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world experiences, showcasing the institution's commitment to innovative education.

The main highlight of "ZU Spotlight" was a student-led interview with astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori, providing a unique opportunity for students to interact directly with a prominent figure in the space sector. The pioneering initiative underscores Zayed University's dedication to enriching the academic experience by bringing real-world insights into the classroom.

Prof. Michael Allen, Acting Vice President of Zayed University, welcomed the special guest in the presence of multiple prominent figures from both the University and MBRSC. Prof. Allen mentioned that “ZU Spotlight is crafted to broaden the intellectual and experiential horizons of students, with a special emphasis on the UAE's achievements in science and technology, and many other projecting fields. This initiative is expected to significantly impact students by enhancing their awareness of space science and showcasing the UAE's pivotal role in this dynamic field.”

Prof. Paul Hopkinson, Dean of the College of Interdisciplinary Studies added that this student-led event showcased the pioneering efforts of our faculty and students to connect learning with practice, with the support of inspirational guest speakers. Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori advice to “dream big, anything is possible” resonated strongly with us all.

Commenting on the event, AlMansoori said, "I am delighted to be part of 'ZU Spotlight,' a groundbreaking initiative that brings the excitement of space exploration directly to the students. I believe such interactions are crucial in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and leaders."

He also spoke about the beginnings of his passion for the space sector, which led him to become a pilot in the UAE Armed Forces, and later, to join the UAE Astronaut Programme.

He discussed the training that astronauts undergo before embarking on their missions, including training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, survival exercises, training on the International Space Station systems, and more. He emphasized the crucial role of space missions in inspiring the new generation, highlighting the significance of the Zayed Ambition 2 mission, the longest Arab space mission in history, in fostering enthusiasm among Emirati and Arab youth.

He also discussed the future missions that the UAE is undertaking, which include the lunar space station, the first space station to orbit the Moon.

The event, which had attracted a significant number of student participation and media attention, provided a valuable platform for ZU students to connect with the broader space science community. The focus goes beyond the achievements of the UAE in space exploration and astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori’s experiences; it extends to showcasing how these insights can be integrated into various academic disciplines.