Emirati astronauts to make their first public appearance in Dubai
Dubai - The duo will be talking about their highs and lows so far, as the country's first official astronauts.
Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Nayadi, the first two Emirati astronauts who beat 4,000 applicants to get the chance to travel to space, will make their first appearance to the general public at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature next month.
At 4pm on March 1, the duo - who have been kept at arms-length since the historic announcement revealing their identities back in September 2018 - will be talking about their highs and lows as the country's first official astronauts.
"We'll be launching the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre's (MBRSC) new book, 'Journey to Space'. We'll have a session where our two astronauts will be meeting the public for the first time. They will be alongside us talking about the book and sharing their unique experiences about their space journey so far," Salem AlMarri, Assistant Director General for Science and Technology Sector at MBRSC told Khaleej Times.
Visitors will be given the chance to get their autographs too.
Touching on the astronauts' training regime, AlMarri didn't reveal who the prime candidate was (that is expected to be announced during a press conference on February 25), but he did say both are undergoing the exact same process.
"They are continuing their training as we speak, and they'll continue that all the way up until their space mission. They are training together, because one of them is a prime candidate and one is a secondary astronaut. He trains identically as the prime. If anything happens last minute, if anyone gets sick for example, the secondary candidate is there to take that mission. They will be training up until a week before their space mission, before the selected candidate is launched into space."
To kick off the 11th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in a unique style, organisers announced on Monday that five golden tickets were up for grabs, offering an all-access experience for winners.
Worth Dh20,000 each, two tickets will be up for grabs via a radio competition and a treasure hunt, while three tickets will be available for direct purchase through the festival's website.
Each Golden Ticket gives complete access to the full festival, all sessions including special events, as well as priority seating; priority access at book signings - go straight to the front of the book signing line; the opportunity to join Festival authors on a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa; an exclusive invitation to the Authors-only end-of-Festival dinner; and an exclusive Montegrappa pen worth more than $1,000.
All golden ticket holders and one companion will get free access to all the Dubai museums throughout March too.
With over 200 sessions and 180 authors from around the world, this year's theme 'United by Words' fits in well with the dedicated Year of Tolerance, Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director told Khaleej Times.
"It made sense to have something related to this. We'll have a Tolerance strand, which will include a recording booth at the festival where people can record their messages of tolerance, and the best messages will be included in a LitFest audio file which will be available to download from Storytel for free."