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NASA to train four Emirati astronauts for future missions

NASA to train four Emirati astronauts for future missions

The programme created as part of the new partnership includes the same elements and modules featured in the training of NASA astronauts

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have signed a strategic agreement whereby the latter will train Emirati astronauts.

Under the agreement, four Emirati astronauts will be provided advanced training.

Emirati astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi are currently undergoing training as part of the strategic partnership between the two organisations.

Two astronauts to be selected from the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme will also join the 2021 NASA Astronaut Candidate Class, in which they will receive the training that US space agency’s astronauts undergo, official news agency WAM reported.

The UAE will announce its next two astronauts in January 2021.

Read: UAE to name its next two astronauts by January 2021

The programme will be conducted at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, one of the world’s largest centres for spaceflight training, research, and mission control and will includes the same elements and modules featured in the training of NASA astronauts.

Astronauts will be trained to manage various missions on the International Space Station, including simulated spacewalks and long duration stay, along with training in major systems, robotics, extravehicular activity, T-38 jet courses, water and land survival, Russian language skills and theoretical training.

Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi had earlier trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Moscow, in September 2018 as part of their preparation for their launch to the International Space Station.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, chairman, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: “The global space sector is based on international cooperation fostered by establishing alliances and building bridges of knowledge with leading international space organisations and agencies. The strategic partnership with NASA, a space pioneer for more than 60 years, supports the strategy of the UAE’s National Space Programme. Emirati astronauts will benefit from NASA’s extensive infrastructure, experience and knowledge in spaceflight development and operations.”

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director general, MBRSC, said: “This agreement supports the objectives of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre to promote the Emirates Astronaut Programme and global partnerships for the country in the area of manned spaceflight. This is being achieved through investments in specialised space training and other projects related to scientific research and development of space technologies. These initiatives pave the way for future strategic partnerships that can support the growth of the UAE’s space sector.”

“The USA and the UAE enjoy a strong relationship in the space sector, and we are excited to extend that relationship with this agreement. The UAE has made extraordinary progress in the space arena in a short amount of time with the successful launch of the Hope Mars probe, the region’s first interplanetary spacecraft, the latest example of the country’s ambitious space programme,” added James W Morhard, deputy administrator, NASA.

“This agreement to train Emirati astronauts will pave the way for even closer relations between our two nations creating new opportunities for the UAE to become involved in the International Space Station, Artemis, and other NASA activities.”

The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE.

Also read: UAE leads its pursuit of a strong astronaut core

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