The UAE Space Agency has signed a letter of intent with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, that covers cooperation in the exploration of space and the UAE’s astronaut programme.
The agreement was signed at the Farnborough International Airshow, and was signed by Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency, and James Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, state news agency WAM reported.
The signing comes as the UAE's space sector enters a new phase of activities, with the UAE Astronaut Programme having recently announced the selection of nine candidates who will undergo a period of assessment and training.
Following the selection of the final team of astronauts, the first Emirati astronaut is scheduled to launch and arrive at the International Space Station in April 2019.
Speaking at Farnborough, Al Ahbabi said: "This agreement strengthens our ongoing mutual collaboration and contributes to the strategic objectives of the UAE Space Agency. The formation of close partnerships with leading space agencies and organisations around the world continues to contribute to the strengthening of our international standing within the global space sector.
"This agreement is particularly important due to NASA’s wide-reaching expertise in manned space missions. NASA has a record number of successful manned spaceflights that have brought significant contributions to humankind’s development, and our agreement with NASA will enhance our national capabilities in this advanced field."
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