The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has received over 4,000 applications (aged between 17 and 67) from Emiratis aspiring to join the UAE Astronaut Programme, which was launched in December 2017 and was open for registrations for three months until March 2018.
Funded by ICT Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), the programme saw females constitute 34% of applicants.
Qualified candidates will be chosen by a selection committee, following which they will need to pass a basic medical and psychometric test, an initial interview, an advanced medical and psychometric test and a panel interview.
The top four candidates who will form the UAE Astronauts Team by the end of 2018 will then undergo a series of training programmes divided into year-long basic training modules and advanced training modules, which will be conducted over three years.
They will also travel to global Astronaut Training Centres for more preparation, as well as the International Space Station (ISS) for a range of scientific research projects and experiments in various disciplines. Each experiment and mission will have different objectives, though the UAE’s mission will be to contribute to humanity’s knowledge and support national and international future space missions.
The scientific focus of the UAE Astronaut Programme is aligned with Mars 2117, which sheds light on the challenges and areas of interest of human space exploration. They include food security and water sustainability, human life support and energy and power management among others.
In 2009, MBRSC launched the first remote sensing satellite "DubaiSat-1" into space, following the second satellite "DubaiSat-2" in 2013. Today, work is underway to launch the third satellite "KhalifaSat", built purely by Emirati engineering in the UAE.
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