Nine UAE astronaut programme candidates arrive in Moscow

The nine qualified candidates of the UAE Astronaut Programme have arrived in Moscow, Russia, for their mission specific medical examination, according to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

The Programme was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as part of the UAE National Space Programme. It aims to train and prepare a team of four Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions.

The medical examinations will last for three weeks and will take place at the Russian State Organisation ‘Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre’ and Institute of Biomedical Problems, IBMP, the State Scientific Centre of the Russian Federation. These examinations will help UAE name the first Emirati Astronauts Corps, who will receive training to perform different space missions in the next few years. Two of the four Emirati astronauts will be selected; an astronaut and his back-up will start training in August 2018 for a flight to the International Space Station in April 2019.

These intensive examinations include conducting an ultrasound of the thyroid gland, kidneys, and small pelvis, respiratory function, fiber colonscopy, ECG and 24 hour monitoring of the blood pressure, tonal audiometry, CT of the paranasal sinuses of the nose, entering the pressure chamber, examination by a centrifuge machine and the vestibular apparatus among others. The examinations are extensive and are specific to space missions, to test the astronauts’ level of endurance and prepare them for space surroundings.

Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the MBRSC, said, “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. We look forward to receiving detailed evaluation of each candidate to support the selection process of the first Emirati Astronauts Corps.”

The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Launched in 2007, this fund, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims towards supporting research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE, helping it to grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world.

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