Russia's space agency offers to train Saudi, Bahraini astronauts

Roscosmos is holding talks with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on training their astronauts for a mission to the International Space Station
Russia's space agency offers to train Saudi, Bahraini astronauts
If confirmed, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain would follow the UAE in taking up the expertise of the Russians to advance their space ambitions.
By Sam Bridge
Thu 15 Nov 2018 02:04 PM

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos is holding talks with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on training their country's astronauts for a mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Russian News Agency TASS quoted Dmitry Loskutov, head of Roscosmos’ international cooperation department on the sidelines of the Bahrain International Airshow as saying an offer of training had been made to the two Gulf countries.

"We would like to offer our training services to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. We have presented our proposals and now those countries are considering their options," he said.

If confirmed, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain would follow the UAE in taking up the expertise of the Russians to advance their space ambitions.

Last month, the first Emirati astronauts, Sultan Al Nayadi and Hazza Al Mansouri, 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.

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