The Mohammad bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced that 39 out of 95 candidates passed the physical and psychological tests to qualify for the preliminary list of the UAE Astronaut Programme.
The Programme was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as part of the UAE National Space Programme. It aims to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent to space for various scientific missions. This is part of the preparations to send the first Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019.
In the initial interviewing process, 39 candidates qualified, passing extensive tests and interviews conducted by qualified specialists from the MBRSC. The tests included a clinical test and a range of activities to measure intelligence, aptitude, neurocognitive ability, personality, and working memory. Following these tests, one-to-one interviews were conducted by the initial selection committee. The candidates’ personalities were evaluated in various mental and psychological aspects to ensure that they can endure the harsh and unusual conditions in space.
The initial interviewing process entailed extensive tests and interviews conducted by qualified specialists from MBRSC, according to scientific and technical criteria. The tests included a clinical test and a range of activities to measure intelligence, aptitude, neurocognitive ability, personality, and working memory. Following these tests, one to one interviews were conducted with the initial selection committee where the candidates’ personalities are evaluated in various mental and psychological aspects to ensure that they endure the harsh and unusual conditions in space.
Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the MBRSC, said: “MBRSC works according to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to build national capabilities in the field of space science and take this sector to strategic levels. The UAE Astronaut Programme reflects the efforts of the MBRSC to support the national policy in the field of space, and contribute to strengthening the UAE’s position among leading countries in the Space sector. We are proud of all the Emirati talents who registered for this ambitious programme, and we are happy with their persistence to reach highest levels.”
“The next stage will be crucial for the selection of the first batch of Emirati astronaut corps who will participate in scientific missions in space. The final interviews will begin on July 3rd,” continued Al Shaibani.
“In this stage, the initial interview committee of the UAE Astronaut Programme worked extensively with the 39 candidates. The committee focused its decision on integrated selection strategies taking into consideration the overall impression of all tests and the whole process to identify the most competent Emirati talent to qualify to the final interview stage,” said Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at MBRSC.
The 39 shortlisted candidates will undergo the final assessment stage, which will be supervised by a team of experts from the MBRSC, in addition to international experts from international space agencies. The final evaluation phase includes interviews conducted by the committee to have a comprehensive evaluation for each candidate as per global standards.
Recently, The UAE, represented by the MBRSC, and Russia, represented by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, signed an agreement to send the first Emirati astronaut to participate in scientific research in a Russian space mission to the ISS, aboard a Soyuz-MS spacecraft.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Launched in 2007, this fund, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims towards supporting research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE, helping it to grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world.