Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

UAE's astronauts in training try out zero gravity

Emirati astronauts Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi undergo parabolic training

Ever since Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi were chosen to be the UAE's first astronauts, their lives have been turned upside down — in more ways than one.

On Sunday, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre posted a video of Emirati pair taking part in zero gravity training.

The video was taken at Yuri Gagarin Centre, north-east of Moscow, where the two men are preparing for a flight to the International Space Centre later this year.

Mr Al Mansoori, 34, and Mr Al Neyadi, 37, were chosen, last year, from more than 4,000 applicants hoping to become the first Emirati in space.

The video showed the pair undergoing training in conditions that simulate those on board the International Space Station.

As part of their training, they had to put on and remove heavy suits within 15 seconds, in case of an emergency.

They were also trained to cope with the dizziness and sickness caused by spinning around when returning to the Earth.

An announcement had been expected soon on which of the two would be transferred to the International Space Station, via a Soyuz rocket.

However, the project endured a setback in October 2018 when the Soyuz MS-10 rocket failed to launch. This resulted in all future projects being delayed.

“We will be having a press conference in the coming months announcing the new date,” said Salem Al Marri, assistant director general for science and technology at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, speaking to The National last week.

“The flight will take place later than we would have hoped because of the incident that occurred.”

Updated: September 9, 2019 12:46 PM

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