A pride for Emiratis, the first UAE astronauts were recently received by no other than His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. Sultan Al Neyadi and Hazza Al Mansouri were at the Sheikh Hamdan’s office at the Emirates Towers in Dubai.
The two astronauts were selected among 4,022 applicants for the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s (MBRSC) UAE Astronaut Programme, 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.
His Highness highlighted the importance of the mission and that the two astronauts – as the first two UAE citizens to travel to the International Space Station – are tasked with conducting a number of tests; an important step for future projects that the UAE aims to undertake.
Sheikh Hamdan also reviewed the various steps of UAE Astronaut Programme, and the training they undergone at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is considered one of most inspiring programmes that meets the aspirations of youth with distinguished capabilities in terms of scientific standards and personal skills.
The programme has also become one of the most important projects of the National Space Programme. 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.
Images: Dubai Media Office