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UAE’s MBRSC And European Space Agency Sign Astronaut Training Agreement

Salem Humaid Al Marri (right) of the MBRSC and David Parker (left) of the ESA signing the Memorandum of Intent in Bremen, Germany. Photograph courtesy of MBRSC.

The UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with the European Space Agency (ESA) to define frameworks for potential cooperation in space science and technology and capacity building for human spaceflight activities.

This took place on the sidelines of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2018, which was held from 1 to 5 October 2018, in Bremen, Germany. This comes within the framework of the expansion of MBRSC’s global strategic partnerships.

The MOI was signed by Eng. Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, David Parker, Director of Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA, in the presence of H.E. Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of the MBRSC.

Under this agreement, ESA will conduct a special training for the Emirati astronaut, who will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on 5 April 2019, for 11 days. This astronaut is currently undergoing intensive training in the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.

Through this agreement, ESA will offer technical support to Operations Support Centre (UAE OSC), by providing them with technologies to communicate with astronauts directly from Dubai, and communicating with the specialised team from MBRSC. At a later stage of this agreement, UAE-OSC will be integrated in the ISS Operations Network.

Al Shaibani expressed his happiness for the signing this agreement with one of the world’s leading space agencies. He stressed that these partnerships will contribute to enhancing potential cooperation in space exploration and human spaceflight activities, including the UAE Astronaut Programme. He added that ESA has considerable experience in this field, and that it is important to share knowledge and experience for the development of the national space sector, to establish the UAE as a regional and global hub for space activities.

“The agreement will open new channels of communication between the two parties, to enhance bilateral cooperation in space science and share best practices, as well as discuss future opportunities for training Emirati astronauts on long duration flights, within the framework of the UAE Astronaut Programme. It will also provide special training for using the technologies at the Columbus laboratory at ISS,” said Eng. Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC.

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