H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, received at his office in Emirates Towers in Dubai, the two Emiratis astronauts Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, Emirates News Agency WAM reported.
The two astronauts were selected among 4,022 applicants for the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s UAE Astronaut Program, which was launched in 2017 by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to participate in global space exploration missions by 2021.
Sheikh Hamdan also reviewed the various steps of UAE Astronaut Program, and the training they undergone at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.
The UAE Astronaut Program is considered one of most inspiring programs that meets the aspirations of youth with distinguished capabilities in terms of scientific standards and personal skills. The program has also become one of the most important projects of the National Space Program. It was launched in April 2017 with the aim of establishing an infrastructure for the UAE space industry.
Al Mansouri is a military fighter pilot with 14 years of military aviation experience. In 2016, he qualified to be an aeronautical pilot and now pilots an F-16B60 aircraft.
Al Neyadi has a PhD in Data Leakage Prevention Technology from Griffith University in Australia, as well as a Master's degree in Information and Networks Security from the same university. He also has a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Brighton University in the UK.
Meanwhile, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, MBRSC, announced Monday that 25th September 2019, will be the launch date of the first Emirati Arab astronaut’s trip to the International Space Station, ISS.
The announcement came during a press conference held by MBRSC that featured Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General of MBRSC; and Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director-General for Scientific and Technical Affairs and Head of the UAE Astronaut Program at MBRSC. Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, the first two Emirati astronauts from the UAE Astronaut Program, also attended the event.
Al Shaibani said that one of the astronauts will fly to ISS on Wednesday, 25th September 2019 for an eight-day Russian space mission to ISS aboard a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft and will travel back aboard a Soyuz-MS 12. The second astronaut will continue training for future missions.