Mohammad Faris, the first Syrian astronaut in space, has died at the age of 72

April 19, 2024

– Muhammad Faris, the first astronaut from Syria and the second Arab to go into space, has died at the age of 72.

Faris' death on Friday (April 19). Syrian media reported. According to reports, he died due to prolonged illness in Turkiye, where he had been living as a refugee since 2012.

Selected in 1985 as part of the Soviet Union's Intercosmos program, Faris launched his first and only space mission on July 22, 1987. Launched on a Soyuz TM-3 with cosmonauts Alexander Viktorenko and Alexander (Pavlovich, Faris Alexandrov 12 Alexandrov, Faris Alexandrov 12). Flying national in Russian space mission and first to visit Mir space station.

During the week-long mission, Faris conducted observations of Syria from orbit and participated in scientific investigations, including material processing and biological experiments.

„We are now flying over our beautiful country, Syria,” Faris said in a live broadcast from the space station Mir. „In this happy moment, I send my deepest respect and love… to all my people everywhere.”

Faris was the first person to take dirt from Earth into space. „I brought with me a vial carrying mud from Damascus,” he said 2015 The National InterviewUnited Arab Emirates (UAE) newspaper.

On July 30, 1987, Faris landed back on Earth in a Soyuz TM-2 along with Viktorenko and Alexander Lavikin, a member of Mir's second resident crew. This is the first time that the Mir crew has launched on one spacecraft and landed on another.

Faris logged a total of 7 days, 23 hours and 4 minutes in space. According to the Association of Space Explorers Registry of Space Travelers, he is the 209th person to fly into space and the 202nd person to orbit the Earth.

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„It would take me days to describe the feeling of pride of going up there, seeing planet Earth, seeing Syria from above and doing something historic for my country and the Arabs,” he told The National.

Muhammad Ahmed Faris was born on May 26, 1951 in Aleppo, Syria. He graduated from the Army Pilot School in Aleppo in 1973 and became a pilot in the Syrian Air Force specializing in navigation.

Faris trained for his space flight alongside another member of the Syrian Air Force, Munir Habib, who did not fly into space.

Faris was named a Hero of the Soviet Union and awarded the Order of Lenin for his role in the Intercosmos project.

After his mission, Faris returned to Aleppo and continued to serve in the Syrian army, rising to the rank of general, until 2012 when he defected and fled to Turkiye with his family. Faris, who lives in exile, said he looks forward to the day when the current Syrian regime is replaced so that he and many others can return home.

„It is important to remember Syria's long and rich history, its many predecessors and how it conquered many frontiers, including the ultimate frontier of space,” he said.

Faris was married to Kind Akil and had five children.

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