Abdul Ahad Mohmand
|Abdul Ahad Mohmand|
|Intercosmos Research Cosmonaut|
January 1, 1959|
Time in space
|8d 20h 26min|
|Missions||Mir EP-3 (Soyuz TM-6/Soyuz TM-5)|
Abdul Ahad Momand (Pashto: عبد الاحد مومند, born January 1, 1959) is a former Afghan Air Force aviator who became the first Afghan and fourth Muslim to journey to outer space. He became one of Soyuz TM-6 crew members and spent nine days aboard the Mir space station in 1988 as an Intercosmos Research Cosmonaut. He became the fourth Muslim to visit outer space, after Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, Muhammed Faris, and Musa Manarov. During this mission Abdul Ahad Momand was the first cosmonaut to use Pashto after he made a telephone call to Afghanistan. Momand is also believed to be the first Muslim who took the Qur'an to space.
Momand was born on 1 January 1959 in Sardah, in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan. He belongs to the Mohmand tribe of the Pashtun ethnic group. Momand graduated from the Polytechnical University of Kabul and then from the Air Force Academy. He served in the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and later trained in the Soviet Union as a pilot and a professional astronaut.
Along with Commander Vladimir Lyakhov and Flight Engineer Valery Polyakov, Momand was part of the Soyuz TM-6 three-man crew, which launched at 04:23 GMT August 29, 1988. Momand's inclusion in the mission was a significant symbol during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
During his nine days stay on the Mir space station, Momand took photographs of his country, participated in astrophysical, medical and biological experiments. He also spoke to Afghanistan’s president, Mohammed Najibullah, and brewed Afghan tea for the crew.
Lyakhov and Momand returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TM-5. The September 6 planned landing of Soyuz TM-5 was delayed because of mechanical complications on the Mir. Radio Moscow reassured listeners that Lyakhov and Momand were fine and in touch with Mission Control. A recording was played of them laughing. A day later, the retro-fire was successful, and at 00:50 GMT Soyuz TM-5 landed near Dzhezkazgan. During touchdown there was no live radio coverage, only live television pictures of Mission Control.
Momand was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on September 7, 1988.
During his flight to space, his mother was extremely distraught over the safety of her son. Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah called Momand's mother into the President's office and arranged an audio/video conference between Momand and her. By this event, Pashto was spoken in space for the first time.
On his return he was made Deputy Civil Aviation Minister, but was a short posting due to the failure of Soviet forces against the Mujahideen take over.
Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, Momand decided to emigrate to Germany in 1992 and applied for asylum there, becoming a German citizen in 2003. He worked in printing services and now as an accountant residing in Ostfildern near Stuttgart.
- Abdul Ahad Momand – The First Afghan in Space (August 29 to September 6, 1988) Archived October 28, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
- First Afghan In Space – Abdul Ahad Momand
- (Russian)Biography at the website on Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia
- Meinhardt, Birk (1–2 April 2010). "Mister Universum". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Munich. p. 3.
Er ist der einzige Afghane, der je ins All fliegen durfte. Von dort sah Abdulahad [sic] Momand die Erde und war sehr stolz um sie. Zurück auf dem Boden aber mußte er aus seiner Heimat fliehen – und sich durch die deutsche Welt kämpfen.
- Article of Dr. Yasin Iqbal Yousafzai- Abdul Ahad Mohmand
- Biographies of International Astronauts – Abdul Ahad Mohmand
- First Afghan in Space – Abdul Ahad Momand
- Abdul Ahad Mohmand – The First Afghan in Space (August 29 to September 6, 1988)
- Abdul Ahad Mohmand The first and Only Afghan Who went to space
- Nils Fischer “Islamic religious practice in outer space.” ISIM review (2008) 22: 39.