Abu Dhabi – Nine candidates have qualified to the final evaluation phase of the UAE Astronaut Programme.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, MBRSC announced the shortlist under a plan to send the first Emirati and Arab astronaut to the International Space Station, ISS, in April 2019.
The nine candidates, who have passed the one-to-one interviews in the MBRSC out of the 18 candidates, will undergo an intensive assessment in Russia by experts from Roscosmos.
After that, the UAE will be choosing the first Emirati astronaut corps of four Emirati astronauts based on the comprehensive evaluation for each candidate.
The tests will be conducted by experts from Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre and will include intensive medical and physical tests for each candidate to ensure they are ready for special space-related training. This may extend up to 14 days for each candidate.
"The last phase of the evaluation process for the nine candidates will be a major step for us to choose the best candidates who will represent the UAE in space and carry out space exploration missions and scientific research to benefit humanity" said MBRSC Director-General Yousef Al-Shaibani.
Two astronauts from the Emirati corps will be trained in Russia, one primary and one backup. One of them will be joining a crew of Russian commander and an American astronaut in Soyuz MS-12 spaceflight which is planned to launch to ISS in April 2019. The others will receive extensive training for future long-duration space missions.