The UAE's first-ever astronaut will go to space in September
One UAE astronaut will "boldly go where no Emirati man has gone before", space. One will be chosen from a pool of two contenders to forever get the accolade of first Emirati man in space.
The two contenders for first Emirati astronaut were selected from a pool of 4,200 candidates that applied to the UAE Astronaut Programme. The Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre Sheikh Hamdan met up with the first ever Emirati astronauts: Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi.
Our successes today reflect the vision of our leadership and the belief they had in our youth's capabilities. The journey of the first Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station will be launched on September 25, 2019. pic.twitter.com/17KICmqrl0— Hamdan bin Mohammed (@HamdanMohammed) February 25, 2019
Mansouri – a military pilot – and Neyadi – a doctor of information technology - were selected from a shortlist of 4,022 applicants received by the Space Centre’s Astronaut Program, which was launched back in 2017. The two astronauts will now begin training for the first UAE space exploration missions in 2021.
Having already launched the first Emirati satellite, ‘KhalifaSat’ into space in October, the Gulf nation is developing their space programme – which includes launching a Mars probe in 2020.
.@AP: The #UAE has a fledgling space program with big ambitions. It launched its first locally made satellite, KhalifaSat, in Oct from Japan. It wants to launch a probe to Mars in 2020.The UAE also says it wants to colonize Mars by 2117, with a fully functioning city of 600,000. pic.twitter.com/HLtyTkUCF2— MBR Space Centre (@MBRSpaceCentre) February 26, 2019
They will join a small number of Muslim astronauts – the first being Saudi Arabia’s Sultan bin Salman Al Saud (who was a payload scientist aboard the ISS back in 1985) as well as Muhammed Faris (became the first Syrian in space in 1987).