After Emirati space mission success, UAE still seeking next two astronauts

daniel fountain
Tue, 2020-03-03 20:23

DUBAI: The vacancy to top all vacancies is still waiting to be
filled in the UAE, as the country’s space program continues to
search for the next two candidates to be sent to space.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) will keep
applications for the UAE Astronaut Program open until March 31,
with a possibility of extending until May 1.

The first two Emirati astronauts, Hazzaa Al-Mansouri and Sultan
Al-Neyadi, who will also be on the selection board, discussed the
expectations they have for the new applicants.

“Passion is very important, and it may be the first thing that
pushed me and my colleague Hazzaa Al-Mansouri to apply for the UAE
astronaut program,” Al-Neyadi said.

Astronaut Hazzaa Al-Mansouri speaking about his expectations for
new astronauts at a press conference. (AN Photo/Gaith

They both said courage, curiosity, good health, educational
background, stable mental state, patience, endurance and readiness
are all personality traits required to be an astronaut.

“As an astronaut, you shouldn’t only be ready (for dangerous
situations). You should also have the right reactions,”
Al-Mansouri said.

The UAE will announce the two new astronauts in January 2021
after applicants pass the selection processes, including interviews
with experts and doctors, and a series of medical, physical and
psychological tests.

Of the more than 3,000 Emiratis to apply, 33 percent are women.
As for their professional backgrounds, 17 percent are pilots while
31 percent are engineers.

The three organizations to generate the highest number of
applicants are Etihad Airways, the UAE armed forces and Dubai

“Today, we have an engineer and a pilot (among our hopeful
astronauts). We hope to recruit a teacher or a doctor, people from
a different background to be part of this mission,” said Salem
Al-Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Program at the MBRSC.

After the program’s second batch, the UAE will have four
active astronauts ready to be sent to space.

Salem Al-Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Program at the MBRSC;
Yousuf Hamad Al-Shaibani, director-general of the MBRSC; and
astronauts Sultan Al-Neyadi and Hazzaa Al-Mansouri at a press
conference. (AN Photo/Gaith Tanjour)

Al-Marri said it is possible that all four will be trained under
different programs, and whoever’s qualifications match the new
mission best will be chosen.

The program started in April 2017, and the first batch received
over 4,000 applications. Al-Mansouri and Al-Neyadi recalled their
own experiences training to become the first Emirati astronauts,
and said they learned a variety of new skills.

Both of them said their favorite skill picked up during training
was learning Russian — the only language used on board the Soyuz

Hazza Al-Mansoori returns to Earth after historic UAE space
missionAll eyes on historic UAE space mission
Source: *FS – All – Science News Net
After Emirati space mission success, UAE still seeking next two astronauts