Emirati astronauts training for mission 'later this year'

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Emirati astronauts training for mission later this year

Dubai - One of the two astronauts was meant to fly to the International Space Station from April 5 to 16.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Sun 20 Jan 2019, 10:12 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Jan 2019, 12:15 AM

Two Emirati astronauts, who are currently undergoing "harsh winter training" in Russia, will take off later this year, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has confirmed.
One of the two astronauts - Sultan Al Neyadi and Hazza Al Mansouri - was meant to fly to the International Space Station from April 5 to 16. However, because of the failed Soyuz-10 launch that took place last October, the dates had to be rescheduled.
Khaleej Times has reported previously that the crew from the failed mission will be relaunching by end of February, pushing forward the mission the Emirati astronaut was supposed to be on.
Salem Al Marri, assistant director-general at the MBRSC, said schedule changes are quite common in the space sector. "With space, schedules do shift and just to give you an example with DubaiSat-1, we had a nine-month schedule shift, and with DubaiSat-2, we had an 11-month schedule shift," he said during a Press conference where they revealed the agenda of the upcoming Science Event of the MBRSC.
"Depending on launch windows, these things happen. Once we are ready to give an absolutely clear indication of when that mission will be taking place, we will let you know. There are some schedule shifts that have been adjusted. It will be pushed a little bit away from April."
Al Marri said that in the coming weeks or months, the centre will reveal more details about the UAE Astronaut Programme, including which one of the two is the primary candidate for the first mission. As of now, the astronauts will remain in Russia where they are undergoing training. Several videos of their training sessions have been posted on the MBRSC's Twitter page, where both of the Emiratis can be seen doing different tests in simulations of space crafts.
"This time is the perfect time for them to do winter survival training, where they are pushed outdoors and they are simulating how to come back in an emergency in a Soyuz capsule and land it in a remote area - let's say Siberia in the winter conditions," Al Marri said. "Then you have to survive two to three days on your own until the emergency services get to you. These are the pre-requisites for any astronaut who's going to fly on a Soyuz mission."
He added that the astronauts are well looked after, especially when it comes meeting their families regularly.

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