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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

World Government Summit: 3,000 apply for UAE's 'fantastic four' astronaut programme

Almost a quarter of applicants are women

The UAE is planning to send four Emirati astronauts into space by 2021. Courtesy Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future
The UAE is planning to send four Emirati astronauts into space by 2021. Courtesy Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future

More than 3,000 Emiratis have now applied to become the UAE's first astronaut, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has revealed.

Around one in four are women, Salem Humaid Al Marri, programme manager of UAE Astronaut Programme, told the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday.

"It shows the Government's policies really work for the promotion of women," he said.

The numbers applying "were a massive amount for a country the size of the UAE," Mr Al Marrisaid.

Six out of ten had a degree in science, mathematics, technology and engineering, while one in five was a qualified pilot.

By the end of the year, those numbers will have been narrowed down to an astronaut corps of four, who will begin training for missions to the International Station Station.

The UAE has approved a manned spaceflight programme and could begin training the first Emirati astronauts as early as next year. The National takes a look at what it takes to be an astronaut. Graphic: Roy Cooper / The National
The UAE has approved a manned spaceflight programme and could begin training the first Emirati astronauts as early as next year. The National takes a look at what it takes to be an astronaut. Graphic: Roy Cooper / The National

The Space Centre is now in talks with international space agencies include Nasa, the Russians and Europe, as well as private companies to carry out training.

More details were also given about KhalifaSat, the earth observation satellite that is the first to be built in the UAE. The satellite, built by Emirate engineers at the Space Centre has now been transferred to the launch site in Japan, with plans to sent it into space in the final quarter of 2018, probably November.

It will be capable to capturing objects only 70cm across compared with one metre for the existing satellites operating by the Space Centre.

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Read more:

Search for the fantastic four: Sheikh Mohammed begins hunt for first Emirati astronauts

The UAE's journey to space

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