9 Candidates Qualify for Final Stage of UAE Astronaut Programme

DUBAI (MBRSC PR) — The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced that 9 candidates have qualified for the final evaluation phase of the UAE Astronaut Programme.

The Programme was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as part of the UAE National Space Programme.

It aims to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions. This supports the intensive preparations to send the first Emirati and Arab astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019.

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UAE Narrows Astronaut Candidates to 9

The Soyuz MS-07 rocket is launched with Expedition 54 Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, flight engineer Scott Tingle of NASA, and flight engineer Norishige Kanai of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Shkaplerov, Tingle, and Kanai will spend the next five months living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The game of musical chairs for four slots in the United Arab Emirates astronaut program continues at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

Out of 18 candidates, nine passed the one-to-one interviews in the MBRSC and are scheduled to undergo an intensive assessment in Russia by experts from Roscosmos.

Once the assessment is completed, the UAE will be choose the first Emirati astronaut corps out of four Emirati astronauts. The tests will be conducted by experts from Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, and will include intensive medical and physical tests to ensure that candidates are ready for special space-related training.

The center has book a ride to the International Space Station for its first astronaut aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for 2019.

UAE Astronaut Search: And Then There Were 18

The National reports that the United Arab Emirates has a short list for its astronaut corps.

With 4,022 Emiratis originally applying, a shortlist of 95 men and women was whittled down to 39. Now now the remaining 18 candidates will proceed to the final interview stage.

Four of these will form the country’s first astronaut corps and travel into space. The first UAE astronaut will lift off next April as part of the agreement reached with Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency.

As part of the crew on a Soyuz spaceship, they will spend 10 days conducting scientific research on the International Space Station (ISS) before returning to Earth.

The 39 went through a round of tests that included a range of activities to measure intelligence, aptitude, neurocognitive ability, personality, and working memory, according to the MBRSC.

First UAE Astronaut to Fly to ISS Next Year

The Soyuz MS-08 rocket is launched with Expedition 55 Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and flight engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel of NASA, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Artemyev, Arnold, and Feustel will spend the next five months living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

DUBAI (Dubai Media Office PR) — Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that sending the first Emirati astronaut to space will herald the beginning of a new era for the UAE and represents another step towards achieving the country’s vision and aspirations for the space sector.

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UAE Astronaut Program Receives 4,000+ Applications

There has been a lot of interest in the UAE’s astronaut program.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has received over 4,000 applications (aged between 17 and 67) from Emiratis aspiring to join the UAE Astronaut Programme, which was launched in December 2017 and was open for registrations for three months until March 2018.

Funded by ICT Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), the programme saw females constitute 34% of applicants…

The top four candidates who will form the UAE Astronauts Team by the end of 2018 will then undergo a series of training programmes divided into year-long basic training modules and advanced training modules, which will be conducted over three years.

They will also travel to global Astronaut Training Centres for more preparation, as well as the International Space Station (ISS) for a range of scientific research projects and experiments in various disciplines. Each experiment and mission will have different objectives, though the UAE’s mission will be to contribute to humanity’s knowledge and support national and international future space missions.

UAE Launches Call for Astronaut Candidates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched a call for astronauts candidates which it says will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) within the next five years.

The astronauts will visit the ISS “to carry out vital experiments and work that will contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of human space flight to meet future challenges, such as a manned mission to Mars,” according to the astronaut application website.

Astronaut candidates will go through basic training in 2019 and 2020 and then proceed to advanced training in 2020 to 2021 followed by assignment to a spaceflight.

UAE and the Russian space agency Roscosmos are negotiating to send UAE astronauts to the space station aboard Soyuz spacecraft, a Russian official recently confirmed. It is not clear whether the UAE has approached or will approach Boeing and SpaceX about flying astronauts on the companies’ commercial crew vehicles.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) is managing the astronaut selection process.

The UAE has increased investment in space in recent years. The nation is launching an orbiter to Mars and is planning to build a simulated Mars city in the desert where scientific work and experiments can be carried out.

Virgin Group, Saudi Arabia Sign MOU for $1 Billion Space Investment

LauncherOne ignites after being released from Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, October 26, 2017 — The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and Virgin Group (Virgin), have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a partnership under which PIF intends to invest approximately $1 billion into Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit, with an option for $480 million of future additional investment in space services.

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UAE, Luxembourg Sign MOU on Space Exploration Cooperation

LUXEMBOURG, October 10, 2017 (Luxembourg PR) — Considering their common interest in the exploration, use and application of space for peaceful purposes, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) jointly agreed on the opportunity to cooperate on space activities. The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, and the UAE, represented by the Minister of State for Higher Education and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, signed today in Abu Dhabi a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to start bilateral cooperation on space activities with particular focus on the exploration and utilization of space resources.

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UAE to Build $136 Million Mars Science City

United Arab Emirates Mars Science City. (Credit: UAE)

DUBAI, UAE (UAE PR) — Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, have launched the Mars Science City project.

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UAE to Form Astronaut Corps

The UAE has announced it is forming its own astronaut corps in time for the 50th anniversary of the nation’s founding in 2021.

In a panel discussion at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here Sept. 28, officials with the country’s new space agency said that the country sought to develop a “sustainable” human spaceflight program with scientific applications, rather than simply the prestige of flying humans in space.

“This is an initiative from the UAE government to have a sustainable human spaceflight program,” said Salem Humaid Al Marri, assistant director general at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. “When we talk about sustainable, that means that we are not looking at launching an astronaut for a week or launching a tourist flight, but we’re looking at a program that is based on science.”

Al Marri said later that the government will formally request applications from astronauts by the end of this year or the first quarter of 2018. He didn’t disclose what criteria the space agency had developed for its astronaut program.

That will be followed by a selection process that he estimated will last from six to ten months before choosing between four and six astronauts. “Probably towards the lower end,” he said of that range of four to six, “because obviously all of the astronauts that we train we would also look to fly them at some point.”

Officials have not announced with vehicles UAE astronauts would fly on.

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NASA, UAE Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

NASA LOGOABU DHABI, UAE — The United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have entered into an agreement to cooperate in aeronautics research, and the exploration and use of airspace and outer space for peaceful purposes, working together in the peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of humanity.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and UAE Space Agency Chairman Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi formalized and signed the agreement Sunday at a meeting in Abu Dhabi.

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Arianespace Snags 4 Launch Contracts

Arianespace_logoConferences are great places to announce business deals. Satellite 2015 in Washington, D.C., was no exception for Arianspace. The European company announced the following launch deals this week:

  • a block of high resolution imaging satellites for Skybox Imaging aboard a Vega launch vehicle in 2016;
  • one Airbus EDRS-C satellite as part of the SpaceDataHighway system aboard an Ariane 5 booster in the first quarter in 2017; and,
  • two Airbus Falcon Eye satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), using two Vega (or Soyuz) launchers in 2018 and 2019.

“We are extremely proud to play a part in deploying Skybox’s satellite imaging constellation.” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël. “The Vega launch system has already achieved four flawless flights for commercial and government customers. This new contract with Skybox marks our first U.S. customer of the Vega and adds to Vega’s order book of nine small satellites to be launched in the coming three years.”

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SXC Expands Marketing Effort to United Arab Emirates

sxc_logoSpace Expedition Corporation (SXC) has teamed up with Alchemy Tourism in Dubai to market XCOR Lynx tickets in the United Arab Emirates. Officials from the Dutch company were in Dubai earlier this week to keep off the effort, which seeks to tap into a wealthy nation where rival Virgin Galactic has raised the bulk of the funds for its SpaceShipTwo vehicle.

You can read about SXC’s expansion into UAE in stories on the Gulf News and Emirates 24/7 websites. Neither piece contains anything really new, although they do include a handful of strange errors:

  • SXC has apparently worked for 13 years “in association with” XCOR to develop the Lynx.  (In reality, XCOR has been in existence 14 years, while SXC was created a couple of years ago to market and operate the Lynx.)
  • XCOR has been renamed “Excor.”
  • Mojave is now “Mohavy.”

Strangely enough, both writers spelled Curacao correctly. I did not see that one coming.

Kazkosmos to Cooperate on Space with UAE, Saudi Arabia

KAZKOSMOS PR — In the period from Nov. 11 to 17, a Kazkosmos delegation headed by Chairman Talgat Musabayev is participating in the “Dubai Air Show 2011” being held in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). As part of “Dubai Air Show 2011”, the Kazkosmos delegation plans to meet with representatives of the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology of the United Arab Emirates to discuss cooperation in space activities. At the meeting, there is the planned signing of an agreement between the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology of the United Arab Emirates on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

From 17 to 20 November this year, the Kazkosmos delegation plans to visit Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to sign an agreement between the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Scientific and Technical town named after King Abdul Aziz (KACST) of Saudi Arabia to establish cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The agreement will be signed on Nov. 19.