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UAE to name its next two astronauts by January 2021

UAE to name its next two astronauts by January 2021

More than 3,000 applicants have applied so far, 33 per cent of whom were women

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

The second edition of the UAE Astronaut Programme – registrations for which began in December last year – has welcomed more than 3,000 applications so far, officials confirmed at a press meeting on Tuesday.

Registrations will close on March 31, with the possibility of the deadline being extended to May 1, if necessary.

Professionals working in the engineering field made up 31 per cent of the applicant pool, while 17 per cent of them were pilots. Meanwhile, 33 per cent of the aspirants were female with the average age of the applicants being 28.

The youngest applicant was aged 17 while a 60-year-old candidate was the oldest hopeful, it was announced.

The two Emirati astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi, also present at the press meet, highlighted the attributes every aspiring astronaut needed to possess, which included: passion, suitable educational background and work experience, physical health, language proficiency, patience and persistence, team work, the ability to acquire new skills, determination and sound communication skills, among others.

“Top things I’d see [in an aspiring astronaut] are humility, passion and determination,” Hazzaa AlMansoori told Gulf Business.

“STEM education is really important for future astronauts,” he added.

Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi were the first astronauts selected in the UAE’s first Astronaut programme. AlMansoori embarked on a space expedition on September 25, 2019 and spent eight days on board the International Space Station (ISS).

He returned to Earth on October 3.

The second edition of the UAE Astronaut Programme gained ground when the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the opening of registrations on December 6, 2019.

 

Shortlisted candidates will undergo medical tests and interviews, with final interviews to be held in November this year.

The two selected astronauts will be named in January next year.

Officials revealed that the key objectives of the UAE Astronaut Programme included:

  • Positioning the UAE as an internationally recognized participant in human space flight
  • Supporting the UAE’s vision of a future dependent upon a knowledge-based economy
  • Sending Emirati astronauts to space to carry out scientific missions
  • Promoting a culture of scientific endeavor in the UAE by inspiring new generations

 

 

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