Nine Emiratis qualify for final UAE astronaut programme shortlist

Candidates will now undergo an intensive assessment in Russia by experts from Roscosmos
Nine Emiratis qualify for final UAE astronaut programme shortlist
By Sam Bridge
Wed 11 Jul 2018 02:05 PM

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced on Wednesday that nine candidates have qualified for the final evaluation phase of the UAE Astronaut Programme.

The Programme, launched 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, aims to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions.

This supports the intensive preparations to send the first Emirati and Arab astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019.

The nine candidates who have passed the one-to-one interviews in the MBRSC out of the 18 candidates will undergo an intensive assessment in Russia by experts from Roscosmos.

After that, the UAE will be choosing the first Emirati astronaut corps of four Emirati astronauts based on the comprehensive evaluation for each candidate.

The tests will be conducted by experts from Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre and will include intensive medical and physical tests for each candidate to ensure candidates are ready for special space-related training. This may extend up to 14 days for each candidate.

Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of the MBRSC, said: “The last phase of the evaluation process for the nine candidates will be a major step for us to choose the best candidate who will represent the UAE in space and carry out national missions assigned to space exploration and scientific research to benefit humanity.

“The first task will be to prepare a final comprehensive evaluation of each candidate, to select the first Emirati astronaut corps in accordance with the highest international standards, in addition to the Agency's task of training two astronauts, for one of them to join the flight to the International Space Station in April,” added Al Shaibani

The UAE and Russia recently signed an agreement to send the first Emirati astronaut to participate in scientific research in a Russian space mission to the ISS, aboard a Soyuz-MS spacecraft.

Two astronauts from the Emirati corps will be trained in Russia, one primary and one backup. One of them will be joining a crew of Russian commander and an American astronaut in Soyuz MS-12 spaceflight which is planned to launch to ISS in April 2019. The others will receive extensive training for future long duration space missions.

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