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Image courtesy: MBRSC

MBRSC, Nasa in deal to train four Emirati astronauts

DUBAI, September 22, 2020

The UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) said that they have signed a strategic agreement to train Emirati astronauts in Nasa.

Emirati astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi are currently taking part in the training as part of the strategic partnership between the two organisations, reported Emirates news agency Wam.

Two astronauts to be selected from the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme will also join the 2021 Nasa Astronaut Candidate Class, in which they will receive the training that US space agency’s astronauts undergo. The training programme will prepare Emirati astronauts physically and psychologically for future space missions.

The training programme will be conducted at Nasa's Johnson Space Center, one of the world's largest centres for spaceflight training, research, and mission control.

The programme created as part of the new partnership includes the same modules and components featured in the training of Nasa astronauts. Under the programme, the astronauts will be trained to manage various missions on the International Space Station, including simulated spacewalks and long duration stay, along with training in major systems, robotics, extravehicular activity, T-38 jet courses, water and land survival, Russian language skills and theoretical training.

Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi had earlier trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Moscow in September 2018 as part of their preparation for their launch to the International Space Station.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: "The global space sector is based on international cooperation fostered by establishing alliances and building bridges of knowledge with leading international space organisations and agencies.”

“The strategic partnership with Nasa, a space pioneer for more than 60 years, supports the strategy of the UAE’s National Space Programme. Emirati astronauts will benefit from Nasa’s extensive infrastructure, experience and knowledge in spaceflight development and operations.

"This agreement is a clear testament of the strong economic, cultural and diplomatic ties between the UAE and the USA. The UAE space sector today has advanced expertise that must be enhanced and utilised for future space missions. These accomplishments have raised the global profile of the UAE space sector and enhanced the capabilities of Emirati astronauts,” he added.

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General, MBRSC, said that the objectives of MBRSC in the area of manned spaceflight are being achieved through investments in specialised space training and other projects related to scientific research and development of space technologies.

"The agreement with Nasa aims to increase the readiness of Emirati astronauts and prepare them for future long-term space missions. The partnership reflects our endeavours to lay strong foundations for the sector’s continued development,” Al Shaibani added.

James W Morhard, Deputy Administrator, Nasa, said:"This agreement to train Emirati astronauts will pave the way for even closer relations between our two nations creating new opportunities for the UAE to become involved in the International Space Station, Artemis, and other Nasa activities."

The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE.




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