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Mohammed bin Rashid Launches UAE Astronaut Programme

Mohammed bin Rashid Launches UAE Astronaut Programme

Wednesday, December 6, 2017/ Editor -  

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To prepare and qualify Emirati Astronauts to reach the International Space Station

Dubai, UAE: 6th of December, 2017:  UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched the UAE’s first Astronaut programme dedicated to selecting and training four Emirati Astronauts on various space missions so they can head to the International Space Station within the next five years.

His Highness said, “On this day, a new chapter in our history begins with the launch of the first UAE Astronaut Programme, dedicated to training and sending four Emirati Astronauts into space. The people of the UAE will break barriers; there is no power strong enough to stand in the way of those who believe nothing is impossible.” He continued, “Our ambitious goals are fuelled by dedicated people, who support us until, without hesitation or scepticism, we succeed.”

“I invite young Emiratis to register for the UAE Astronaut Programme through the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre at www.mbrsc.ae/astronauts. The most competitive applicants will be selected to be ambassadors for the UAE in space exploration. However, every single Emirati will contribute in his or her own way to the future of the UAE, whether it’s on land, or in the skies” he concluded.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is the first of its kind in a series of projects in the country dedicated to developing advanced sciences in order to empower future generations. The UAE is investing in science programmes to help serve national interests in the future, actively participating in global space exploration, and exploring the prospects of human life in space, including the possibility of inhabiting other planets.

About the Programme

The UAE Astronauts Programme is part of the work of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, and is dedicated to selecting and training ambitious and successful Emiratis in space exploration. The programme will support the UAE’s mission to become a hub for the space sector in the region and to become global leader in space exploration over the next 50 years.

Young Emiratis can register at www.mbrsc.ae/astronauts. All applications will be thoroughly studied and assessed based on the qualifications of the candidates. Finalists will go through training in theory and science, as well as specialty qualification courses, over several months and in accordance with the highest international standards and requirements. The top students will be screened before four Emirati astronauts will be selected to form the UAE’s Astronaut Team.

The four will join the International Space Station on the first UAE space mission ever, to share knowledge and experience with other global astronauts. The astronauts will enhance the UAE’s achievements in the space sector by undertaking scientific experiments within an integrated project aimed at exploring biology and ways of adapting living organisms in non-terrestrial environments, for the benefit of mankind.

The programme includes partnership agreements with some of the world’s leading astronaut training centres, which provide state-of-the-art simulation systems in space training, in order to empower the astronauts and ensure the success of the programme.

The four astronaut’s trip to the International Space Station will mark the first step in the UAE’s journey in space exploration.

The UAE National Space Programme

The UAE Astronauts Programme is part of the UAE National Space Programme, which was launched last April by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The programme is the first of its kind in the region, providing an integrated science and research system to advance the future of the space sector in the UAE, and to contribute to developing innovative solutions to the challenges of the future. The programme includes training and sending Emirati astronauts to space, building the first human settlement on Mars by 2117, and launching the Hope Spacecraft to orbit Mars in 2021.

The UAE National Space Programme also includes the establishment of the Mars Science City, announced during the annual UAE government meetings last September. It will be the first and largest city to replicate life on Mars, and will be built under the supervision of an engineering team from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The city will include laboratories for food, energy and water research. It also seeks to create a generation of Emiratis who are eager to be involved in space exploration.

The UAE National Space Programme also includes the Arab Space Exploration Programme, launched for Arabs to share knowledge and expertise in the space sector. The programme seeks to establish a database of potential Arab astronauts and was responsible for the launch of the satellite manufacturing complex at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, in which satellites are built entirely in the Arab world.

A Historical Legacy

The UAE has always been interested in the space sector, as per the leadership’s keen awareness of its importance. The late Sheikh Zayed nurtured this interesting in the 1970s when he met with the NASA team and Apollo Astronauts who landed on the moon. 

Thuraya Telecommunications Company was founded in 1997 as the nucleus of the national space industry, followed 10 years later by Al Yah Satellite Communications, founded in 2007 to design the first multi-purpose satellite system in the region, linked to advanced ground infrastructure.

Another shift in the advanced space industry took place with the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology, established in 2006 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to promote space research in the UAE and to launch advanced science projects. The institute was operating until 2015, when it was merged with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, which was established to promote the UAE and the Arab and Islamic worlds as leaders in space exploration, science and technology. 

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s projects include the launch of the satellites DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2 in 2009 and 2013 respectively, followed by the KhalifaSat Satellite, which is currently under development. The Centre is also designing and building the Mars Hope Probe, which will be sent to orbit Mars in 2021, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE, and which will provide the world with invaluable information about the red planet.

The Emirates Space Agency was established in 2014 with the same objective, to organise and develop the country’s space sector and to contribute to the national economy and sustainable development, as well as to prepare a young Emirati generation with high science and professional skills, and to develop research and space programmes, along with strategic partnerships in this area.


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