Four Emirati astronauts will eventually be trained, with the first taking off for the International Space Station in April 2019
Nine candidates competing to become the UAE’s first astronauts have arrived in Moscow to begin “mission-specific medical tests”, it was announced on Sunday.
The tests will be conducted over the course of three weeks at the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre and at the Institute of Biomedical Problems at Russia’s State Scientific Centre.
The examinations will include a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring session, fibercolonoscopy, respiratory tests, an ultrasound of the thyroid gland and time spent in a pressure chamber.
Additionally, the candidates will be spun in a centrifuge to test their tolerance to the kind of strong G-forces they would experience in space.
“We believe that these examinations will not only support the selection process but will also earn the candidates a deep understanding about space mission preparations and conditions,” said Yousuf Al Shaibani, the director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.
“We look forward to receiving detailed evaluations of each candidate to support the selection process of the first Emirati Astronaut Corps.”
Following the tests, the UAE will choose the first four astronauts, one of whom will become the first Emirati and Arab astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019.
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.