Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Niyadi Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum  said that the Emiratis astronauts who are set to travel to space are a source of pride for the country, given the significance of the accomplishment. This signals the beginning of a new phase in the nation’s development journey, he said.

He also praised the MBRSC’s role in achieving the UAE’s ambition to establish a footprint in the space industry by supporting the implementation of the ‘UAE Space Programme’ and the ‘National Space Policy’.

Shaikh Hamdan sent his best wishes to the two astronauts and the UAE Space Programme, saying Emiratis have already demonstrated that they are capable of establishing leadership in various domains.

Addressing the two astronauts, Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Niyadi, who were selected by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, Shaikh Hamdan tweeted: “We are proud of you, and of the efforts of MBRSC to fly the UAE’s flag high in the sky. A new Emirati record will be set in space,” Sheikh Hamdan tweeted.

The two astronauts are undergoing specially-designed intensive training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia. Upon completion of the training and preparations, one of them will be selected to join an 11-day Russian space mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on  April 5, 2019, aboard a Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft.

The intensive training covers processes following the launch of the spacecraft and rockets; working within the team entrusted with the mission process; identifying control panels; survival courses; dealing with emergencies on board, as well as learning the Russian language.

The two astronauts will also receive training from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA on what they will do at ISS.

 Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of the MBRSC, said: “Preparing Emirati astronauts according to global standards is an urgent requirement to significantly and directly contribute to the establishment of the infrastructure for the space sector in the UAE. Qualified Emiratis are the key to developing a strong space sector infrastructure. The training that is currently being given at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia will provide both Al Mansouri and Al Niyadi with the skills necessary to successfully carry out their research and scientific missions at ISS. The space flight will also enable them to gain the necessary experience through direct interaction with experienced astronauts, thus enabling them to reach the same levels of proficiency as that of astronauts from leading countries in the space sector”.

Eng. Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, added: “The visit to ISS along with all the physical and psychological preparations ahead of it represents a huge leap forward in the UAE Astronaut Programme. There are several projects that MBRSC plans to launch. It is therefore essential to learn from the experience of those who have reached advanced levels in space science. It is our objective to transfer these experiences to MBRSC to encourage Emirati youth in this sector.”