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9 shortlisted astronauts arrive in Russia for medical tests

Staff Reporter /Dubai
Filed on August 5, 2018 | Last updated on August 5, 2018 at 07.23 pm
The examinations are extensive and are specific to space missions
The examinations are extensive and are specific to space missions.

The nine candidates will be in Moscow for three weeks for medical examinations before returning to the UAE.

The remaining nine candidates who are in the running to be part of UAE's first astronaut corps have arrived in Moscow and will go through a series of gruelling medical exams.

Only four candidates will be chosen from the final nine and will form UAE's first astronaut corps and one of them will jet off to the International Space Station (ISS) in April, 2019.

The nine candidates will be in Moscow for three weeks for medical examinations before returning to the UAE. Two of the four Emirati astronauts will be selected while an astronaut and his back-up will start training this month for the flight to the ISS.

These intensive examinations include conducting an ultrasound of the thyroid gland, kidneys, and small pelvis, respiratory function, fibercolonscopy, ECG and 24-hour monitoring of the blood pressure, tonal audiometry, CT of the paranasal sinuses of the nose, entering the pressure chamber, examination by a centrifuge machine and the vestibular apparatus among others.

The examinations are extensive and are specific to space missions, to test the astronauts' level of endurance and prepare them for space surroundings, according to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

"We believe that these examinations will not only support the selection process but will also earn the candidates a deep understanding about space mission preparations and conditions. We look forward to receiving detailed evaluation of each candidate to support the selection process of the first Emirati Astronauts Corps," Yousuf Al Shaibani, director-general of the MBRSC, said.

The tests are taking place at the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre and Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP), which is the state scientific centre of the Russian Federation.

A total of 4,022 applications were received by MBRSC from Emiratis who were interested in becoming a part of the UAE Astronaut Programme.

Only 95 were then chosen to go through medical, psychometric and ability assessment tests. The numbers were then narrowed down to 38 candidates, who qualified for the initial interview stage and extensive psychology tests.

Only 18 candidates made it to the assessment tests by the MBRSC higher committee and international space agencies. Now, only nine remain and the final four will be chosen this month.

The first Emirati astronaut will jet off to the ISS in April next year aboard the Russian spacecraft, Soyouz, for a 10-day mission. An American astronaut and Russian commander will also be on this mission.

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com  


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