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UAE announces shortlist for astronaut programme

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre has shortlisted a total of 95 applicants, including 75 men and 20 women, for the UAE Astronaut Program, WAM reported.

The candidates were chosen from a pool of 4,022 applicants and hail from diversified educational and vocational backgrounds including civil aviation, air force, medicine, STEM and education.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is part of the country’s National Space Programme, which aims to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said, “The UAE is moving rapidly in space science and research due to the unlimited support of our wise leadership.

“We are delighted by the volume of entries from a highly qualified caliber of Emiratis. This confirms the ambitions of the UAE nationals who are dedicated to follow the country’s approach to explore space and support the vision of our wise leadership to prepare national cadres to enrich scientific progress and serve humanity through making further achievements in space exploration.”

Al Mansoori noted that the National Space Programme contributes to achieving the ambitious aspirations of reaching a national economy based on knowledge, innovation and creativity, in addition to enhancing the UAE’s competitiveness and leadership as a global hub for space science.

“The qualified candidates represent the future of the UAE and reflect its generations’ aspirations to shape a future that tells the story of the country’s glorious legacy. In this race to the space, they reaffirm our leadership’s plans for the youth since the formation of the union by our great leaders and until this day. With this motivating spirit we move forward together to achieving the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071, confident that the UAE astronauts will be our ambassadors for a bright future at times of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he added.

UAE Astronaut Programme is the first astronaut programme in the Arab world aimed towards developing skilled and capable Emirati astronaut corps and sending them out to carry out scientific missions.

From his side, Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said, “The UAE Astronaut Programme contributes to achieving the national strategy which aims to train and prepare a future generation of space explorers according to the highest international standards. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre looks forward to having a national team of astronauts who can achieve the UAE’s ambitions in this field.”

The final phase will conclude in 2018 with the selection of the top four candidates and two reserves who would pass all the previous stages.

The finalists will undergo an intensive training programme, consisting of several stages according to the highest international standards.

It will start with the basic training stage, during which candidates will learn about the objectives and plans of the programme and learn the basics of scientific disciplines, including space engineering and space science.

They will also have to learn Russian and train in space science and research. They will then move on to advanced and intensive training, during which participants will learn about the maintenance and management of loads, as well as a range of skills including robotics, navigation, medical aid and resource management. Upon completion of this stage, the astronaut will be eligible to participate in missions to the ISS. The first Emirati astronaut will be sent to space in the coming years, and the rest of the team will follow to ISS.

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