Three generations of a family in race to be UAE’s first astronaut
4,022 Emiratis have applied to be country’s first four space explorers
A67-year-old man and three generations of a family are among over 4,000 Emiratis who have applied to be the first four UAE astronauts, officials said yesterday.
The Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced the final results of the application process for the UAE Astronaut Programme which ran from December 6 last year to March 31. A total of 4,022 Emiratis applied, 34 per cent of them women. The applicants are from 38 work fields, and are aged between 17 and 67. Yousuf Al Shaibani, MBRSC DirectorGeneral, said the centre is delighted with the volume of entries and are highly impressed with applicants’ diverse skill sets and backgrounds.
“The success of this programme is underpinned by the talent we hone and we are looking forward to training a skilled team of individuals to represent our country on board the International Space Station (ISS) and contribute to the various experiments and research areas there,” Al Shaibani said. Salem Al Merri, astronaut programme manager, said: “Of the final four that will be selected after the training, one will be sent to the ISS.”
More than 4,000 Emiratis, including a 67-year-old man and three generations of a family, have applied to be one of four UAE astronauts, officials announced yesterday. Of the four candidates chosen, only one will go on the UAE’s space mission after 2022.
The Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) revealed the final results of the application process for the UAE Astronaut Programme which ran from December 6, 2017 to March 31 this year. A total of 4,022 Emiratis applied, with 34 per cent being women. The applicants are from 38 fields of work, and their ages are between 17 and 67.
Yousuf Al Shaibani, MBRSC director-general, said: “We are looking forward to training a skilled team of individuals to represent our country on board the International Space Station [ISS] and contribute to the various experiments and research areas there.”
Salem Al Merri, MBRSC assistant director-general for Scientific and Technical Affairs and programme manager of UAE Astronaut Programme, said: “Unfortunately, 99.9 per cent of the applicants will not be successful. The diversity [of the applications received] showcases that our society is on board with this mission. They’re excited about this mission. Young and old want to be a part of it.”
Amel Abdullah Ameen, head of education at MBRSC and selection lead for the programme, explained that the ISS only accommodates six astronauts at a time. The remaining three UAE astronauts will, therefore, be sent to space on a rotation basis.
Al Merri said one of the most inspiring things he saw during the application process was when three generations from one family showed interest.
“There were people who came to us who are in their 50s and 60s who said the programme was something they were dreaming about in the 70s when they saw people landing on the surface of the moon. They thought ‘Will the UAE be able to do this?’ And they thought, ‘Is it too late for us?’” Al Merri said.
“Some of them applied and they also encouraged their children and their grandchildren to apply.”
Ameen said candidates have to be emotionally stable, healthy and think analytical ly.
The centre also opened up proposals for the scientific focus of the mission and has received 15 proposals, which it is currently reviewing.