39 UAE astronaut hopefuls pass initial tests

39 UAE astronaut hopefuls pass initial tests

Dubai - The first Emirati to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019 will be selected from these 39 candidates.

By Team KT

Published: Sat 30 Jun 2018, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 2 Jul 2018, 1:47 AM

Thirty-nine of the 95 Emirati astronaut hopefuls have passed the physical and psychological tests to qualify for the preliminary list of the UAE Astronaut Programme, it was announced on Saturday. The first Emirati to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019 will be selected from these 39 candidates.
According to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the candidates went through extensive tests and interviews conducted by qualified specialists. The tests included a clinical test and a range of activities to measure intelligence, aptitude, neurocognitive ability, personality and working memory. Following these tests, one to one interviews were conducted with the initial selection committee, where the candidates' personalities were evaluated in various mental and psychological aspects to ensure that they are fit to endure the harsh and unusual conditions in space.
The next stage will be crucial for the selection of the first batch of Emirati astronaut corps, who will participate in scientific missions in space. The final interviews will begin on July 3, according to a top official.
The 39 shortlisted candidates will undergo the final assessment stage, which will be supervised by a team of experts from the MBRSC, in addition to experts from international space agencies. The final evaluation phase includes interviews conducted by the committee to have a comprehensive evaluation for each candidate as per global standards.
Yousuf Al Shaibani, director-general of the MBRSC, said: "The UAE Astronaut Programme reflects the efforts of the MBRSC to support the national policy in the field of space, and contribute to strengthening the UAE's position among leading countries in the space sector. We are proud of all the Emirati talents who registered for this ambitious programme, and we are happy with their persistence to reach the highest levels.
Talking about the initial selection process, Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at the MBRSC, said: "In this stage, the initial interview committee of the UAE Astronaut Programme worked extensively with the 39 candidates. The committee focused its decision on integrated selection strategies, taking into consideration the overall impression of all tests and the whole process to identify the most competent Emirati talent to qualify to the final interview stage."
The UAE Astronaut Programme was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as part of the UAE National Space Programme. It aims to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions.
Recently, the UAE, represented by the MBRSC, and Russia, represented by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, signed an agreement to send the first Emirati astronaut to participate in scientific research in a Russian space mission to the ISS, aboard a Soyuz-MS spacecraft.

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