The United Arab Emirate’s Dubai-based Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced the extension by a month of the registration deadline for the UAE Astronaut Programme until 31 March, 2018.
This development “aims to optimize entries to the programme as well as allow the space centre time to process the tremendous volume of applications received thus far,” according to an MBRSC press release dated 1 March, 2018.
Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at MBRSC, said, “Our recent call for applications to the UAE Astronaut Programme has been met with incredible enthusiasm and we are very proud of the interest that this has sparked amongst Emirati men and women in the field of space exploration. We have experienced great interest in the astronaut programme from Emirati men and women to carry the pride of the nation to make history and become the first UAE national to go to space. The extension allows us the time to accurately process these applications and we would like to encourage more candidates, especially doctors, teachers and engineers, to take advantage of the extended deadline and register their interest as soon as possible and be a part of this momentous mission for the Arab world.”
Since its launch in December 2017, the UAE Astronaut Programme recruitment drive has received over 3,000 applications, 60 percent of which are from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) qualified candidates, while another 20 percent are from people with piloting backgrounds. Of the applicants so far, 25 percent are from women.
A majority of the applicants are between the average ages of 24 and 36, with the youngest applicant being only 17, and the oldest being 67 years old.
“Our ambitious goals are fueled by dedicated people, who support us until, without hesitation or skepticism, we succeed. Every single Emirati will contribute in his or her own way to the future of the UAE, whether it’s on land, or in the skies. The UAE Astronaut Programme is the first of its kind in a series of projects in the country dedicated to developing advanced sciences to empower future generations. It has been formulated to accomplish the objective of launching an astronaut to the International Space Station, where he or she will embark on a programme of scientific discovery, conducting experiments devised by leaders within the UAE scientific community,” added Salem Humaid Al Marri.
The shortlisted candidates will be chosen to undertake theoretical and practical tests, training and qualification courses, and aptitude tests, over several months, in accordance with the international standards required for different missions. This intensive screening programme will allow the MBRSC to choose the most suitable candidates for the long-duration stay on the International Space Station (ISS) in the first UAE space flight.
Ultimately, the chosen four individuals forming the UAE astronaut team will be subjected to a series of training programmes, which are divided into year-long basic training modules and advanced training modules which will be conducted over a period of three years. They will also travel to various astronaut training centres around the world in order to receive the best possible training in human spaceflight.
To apply for the UAE Astronaut Programme (Emirati citizens only) go to the following website: https://mbrsc.ae/astronauts/en/joinprogram