95 Emiratis shortlisted in search for UAE's first astronaut

Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre announces that 95 out of 4,022 applicants will go forward to next stage of the UAE Astronaut Programme
By Sam Bridge
Wed 06 Jun 2018 06:49 PM

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre has announced that 95 out of the 4,022 applicants have been shortlisted for the UAE Astronaut Programme.

Part of the UAE National Space Programme, it aims to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions.

The programme was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in April 2017.

The shortlisted applicants consist of 75 males and 20 females aged between 23 to 48 years from across the UAE. They hail from diversified educational and vocational backgrounds including civil aviation, air force, medicine, STEM and education.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: "The UAE is moving rapidly in space science and research due to the unlimited support of our wise leadership.

"We are delighted by the volume of entries from a highly qualified caliber of Emiratis. This confirms the ambitions of the UAE nationals who are dedicated to follow the country’s approach to explore space and support the vision of our wise leadership to prepare national cadres to enrich scientific progress and serve humanity through making further achievements in space exploration."

He added: "The qualified candidates represent the future of the UAE and reflect its generations’ aspirations to shape a future that tells the story of the country’s glorious legacy. In this race to the space, they reaffirm our leadership’s plans for the youth since the formation of the union by our great leaders and until this day."

The final phase of the programme will conclude this year with the selection of the top four candidates and two reservists who would pass all the previous stages.

The team will be the first UAE Astronaut Corps and will join efforts with other astronauts to carry out scientific missions that will complement the research needed to prepare future space explorations, find solutions to many challenges, enrich human knowledge and the scientific community.

The finalists will undergo an intensive training programme, consisting of several stages according to the highest international standards.

Candidates will also have to learn Russian and train in space science and research. They will then move on to advanced and intensive training, during which participants will learn about the maintenance and management of loads, as well as a range of skills including robotics, navigation, medical aid and resource management.

Upon completion of this stage, the astronaut will be eligible to participate in missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

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Last Updated: Wed 06 Jun 2018 06:53 PM GST

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