UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has launched the county’s first astronaut programme.
The programme is designed to select and train four Emirati astronauts for various space missions with the intention of making them ready for a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) within the next five years.
It marks the latest in a series of space projects announced by the country as it prepares to send a probe to Mars by 2020.
In September the country revealed plans to build a Dhs500m ($136.1m) simulation city on Earth to imitate a future project on the red planet it plans to build in 2117.
The country also plans to become a hub for the space exploration industry over the next 50 years.
Young Emiratis can register for the programme on the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre website at https://mbrsc.ae/astronauts/en.
“All applications will be thoroughly studied and assessed based on the qualifications of the candidates,” according to the announcement.
The training programme will include theory in science and specialty qualification courses over several months in accordance with international standards. It will be conducted in partnership with astronaut training centres, which will provide state-of-the-art simulation systems.
The top students will be screened before the final four are selected for the UAE’s first ever space mission aboard the ISS, where they will undertake scientific experiments within an integrated project to explore biology and ways of adapting living organisms in non-terrestrial environments, for the benefit of mankind.
“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,” Sheikh Mohammed said.