Emirati astronauts start training ahead of first space mission

Sultan Al Nayadi and Hazza Al Mansouri are training in Russia as one will be selected to fly to International Space Station in April
Emirati astronauts start training ahead of first space mission
The first Emirati astronauts, Sultan Al Nayadi and Hazza Al Mansouri.
By Sam Bridge
Mon 08 Oct 2018 07:31 PM

The first Emirati astronauts, Sultan Al Nayadi and Hazza Al Mansouri, have started training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia.

The training is being undertaken as they prepare for a historic mission that will take one of them to the International Space Station on April 5 2019 on board the Soyuz MS-12.

The final two were chosen after a shortlist of nine candidates competing to become the UAE’s first astronauts underwent tests in Moscow.

They are now being trained in Russia, with one of them joining a crew of Russian commander and an American astronaut in Soyuz MS-12 spaceflight.

The other will receive extensive training for future long duration space missions.

Last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister, Vice President and Dubai Ruler, said he hoped the duo would "raise the bar for an entire generation".

Thirty-four-year-old Al Mansouri has a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Science and Military Aviation from the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College, has 14 years of military aviation experience, and has completed training programmes both inside and outside the country. In 2016, Al Mansouri qualified to be an aeronautical pilot and now pilots an F-16B60 aircraft.

Thirty-seven-year-old Al Nayadi has a PhD in Data Leakage Prevention Technology from Griffith University in Australia that he had obtained in 2016, as well as a Master’s degree in Information and Networks Security from the same university, a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Brighton University in the United Kingdom, UK, and completed a general education programme in IT in the UK in 2001.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre launched the Emirates Astronauts Programme in December 2017 and created an e-registration portal for those who aim to be the first Emirati astronaut.

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