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Thu 28 Sep 2017 09:49 AM

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Russia may help set up first UAE cosmonaut team

Two space agencies sign agreement to test space tech and equipment at the ISS

Russia may help set up first UAE cosmonaut team
The UAE space agency and Russian counterpart Roscosmos have signed an agreement that could see Russia help create the UAE’s first team of astronauts

The UAE space agency and Russian counterpart Roscosmos have signed an agreement that could see Russia help create the UAE’s first team of astronauts, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The broad agreement signed at the International Astronautical Congress in the southern Australian city of Adelaide, was revealed to reporters by Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Space Flight Programs Sergey Krikalev.

"An agreement of intent has been signed today with the UAE space agency, which implies wide-ranging cooperation. The partnership may involve manned programs, and, as far as I understand, it is not about a tourist flight. The Arab side is interested in creating its own cosmonaut team," Krikalev said according to TASS.

Krikalev said the two space agencies would collaborate in the testing and development of space equipment and technology aboard the International Space Station (ISS) launched into the earth’s orbit by US and Russian astronauts, TASS said.

"We explained to our partners that this is the easiest and most evident thing we should start with. This is an international platform for formulating technologies. We are ready to include their list of experiments in a number [of experiments] held on board the ISS," he said.

It’s too early to say when the project will be implemented, Krikalev said, adding that it could include the training and selection of UAE astronauts by Russian experts.

"The given agreement concerns developing opportunities, including assistance in selecting the cosmonaut team: Our experts may help them select their candidates and organize trainings, some of which may be held in Russia, in the Cosmonaut Training Center.”

The next round of talks will take place on the side-lines of the Dubai Airshow that will kick-off from 12-16 November at Dubai World Central.

"The next round of talks will be held at the Dubai airshow, I guess, and on another platform next February. By the way, the UAE experts already came to us for the ISS manned mission launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome and saw the final stage of work," Krikalev added.

Highlighting at this year’s International Astronautical Congress billionaire rocket builder and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will unveil “major” updates on his plans to colonize Mars.

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