UAE Astronaut Candidates Head Into The Final Round Of Testing For Their Nation's First-Ever Mission To The ISS

Friday, 03 August 2018 - 10:41AM
Science News
Friday, 03 August 2018 - 10:41AM
UAE Astronaut Candidates Head Into The Final Round Of Testing For Their Nation's First-Ever Mission To The ISS
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NASA
In June we shared United Arab Emirates announcement concerning its plan to send astronauts to the International Space Station in 2019. This mission will be the UAE's first to the ISS in history. At the time of the announcement, the pool of 4,022 applicants had been narrowed to a shortlist of 75 men and 20 women. The UAE has finalized its squad of astronauts and have begun training them for next year's historic mission.

Middle East Monitor reports that nine candidates arrived in Moscow earlier this week along with representatives of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre to undergo a series of medical tests to make sure that they are fit for the journey into space. The medical and physical tests will last for three weeks – which sounds like a long time because it is. At the end of the process, two of the nine candidates will be selected as both the main and reserve astronauts for the mission and will be trained by the Roscosmos Space Agency. The remaining seven candidates will undergo training programs to prepare them for future long-term missions.



The identities (and genders) of the final nine candidates have not been revealed but we imagine that, once the training ends, the world will hear if a woman has been selected for one of the very exclusive slots. The main astronaut will undoubtedly be the star, but all 95 of the shortlisted candidates have already earned their way into the history books, and the nine finalists deserve to be recognized for their achievements. 

The UAE ISS mission is expected to launch in April 2019, so time is of the essence for the Roscosmos team responsible for training. The UAE Space Agency is already thinking ahead to a Mars colony by the year 2117 – the ISS is merely a stepping stone for bigger things to come.
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