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UAE to Send Astronauts to International Space Station, Launch National Space Programme

H.H. Sheikh Mohamed in Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander (centre left) and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai (centre right), at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai. Photograph courtesy of the Dubai Media Office.

Vice President and 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, launched on April 12, 2017, the UAE National Space Programme and approved the programme’s strategy. The programme, which will be executed by young Emirati cadres, was announced on Wednesday during a visit by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed to the Mohammed Bin Rashid  Space Centre (MBRSC).

Crown Prince of Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also attended the tour that also included the launch of a satellite manufacturing complex as part of the MBRSC. The move is part of the UAE’s ambitious space programme as it aims to reach Mars in 2021 and build the first human settlement on the Red Planet in 2117.

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is set to launch the Hope spacecraft in July 2020 on a seven-month journey to the Red Planet. The UAE National Space Programme also includes a new programme to prepare Emiratis astronauts.  “Our national space programme is a solid platform to prepare Emirati cadres specialized in aerospace sciences, and qualify future generations that are able to contribute to humanity’s knowledge,” Mohammed bin Rashid said.  “We plan to send the first Emirati astronaut to space over the next few years, and starting from today, we are preparing the first Emirati and Arab astronaut to join scientists at the International Space Station.”

Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE space programme is a message to the Arab world that our sons are able to compete on the global level. “Our objective is to show the world that we are able to contribute to humanity through quality knowledge and scientific discoveries,” he said.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said that the UAE is making a new national leading achievement every day on all levels thanks to the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the vision of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid. “We are very proud of Emirati youth playing a pivotal role in shaping an ambitious future for their own country and pursuing higher educations in the field of science and  knowledge,” he said.

Present during the tour were Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Mohammed Ahmad Al Bowardi, along with senior government officials.

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