UAE announces names of its first astronauts


UAE announces names of its first astronauts

They were selected from over 4,000 candidates that applied for the UAE astronaut programme.

By Team KT

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Published: Tue 4 Sep 2018, 1:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Sep 2018, 9:18 AM

UAE, we are a go for liftoff! The country's first two Emirati astronauts have been revealed in a historic announcement made on Monday by the leaders of the UAE.

Hazza Al Mansouri, 34, and Sultan Al Nayadi, 37, have been selected as the first two astronauts from among over 4,000 who applied for the UAE Astronaut Programme. They both hail from Abu Dhabi. Only one of them will blast off into space in April 2019, while the other will be a backup.

The selected astronaut's first mission was revealed in June and will take him on a 10-day mission to the ISS onboard the Russian spacecraft, Soyuz MS-12. The search for the UAE's first astronauts began in December 2017, when the UAE Astronaut Programme was announced. Less than one year later, the first two have been chosen.

Congratulatory messages for Al Mansouri and Al Neyadi poured in from UAE leaders on being selected.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: "Hazza and Sultan represent a new stage for the UAE youth and raise the aspirations of new generations after them. Our dreams embrace space and we are proud of our youth, and our future is based on a solid scientific foundation.

"We have the only Mars probe programme in the region; our satellite industry has realised its full potential; we have UAE astronauts; we have a space industry worth Dh20 billion, and we have aspirations without limits ... When given the opportunity, Arabs can reach for the stars."

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also congratulated the astronauts on passing the tests and demonstrating their abilities and capabilities in the space programme. He wished them success in carrying out the scientific tasks entrusted to them.

"As space has no limits, there are also no limits to our ambitions to accomplish greater achievements for our country," Sheikh Mohamed said.

There were 4,022 applicants for the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre's (MBRSC) UAE Astronaut Programme.

The final two astronauts completed six phases of medical, psychological, advanced medical tests, a series of interviews - in cooperation with NASA - as well as advanced medical tests by Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos.

Al Mansouri is a military fighter pilot with 14 years of military aviation experience. In 2016, he qualified to be an aeronautical pilot and now pilots an F-16B60 aircraft.

Al Niyadi has a PhD in Data Leakage Prevention Technology from Griffith University in Australia, as well as a Master's degree in Information and Networks Security from the same university. He also has a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Brighton University in the UK.

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