The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has received over 3,000 applications for the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme, out of which 33% are women. The insights were revealed during a press conference chaired by HE Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director-General, MBRSC, Salem AlMarri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, and astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi.
During the press conference, the MBRSC team shed light on some insights about the registrations that they have received so far. Out of the 3,000 applications received by MBRSC, 33% are from women, 17% of the applicants are pilots and 31% are engineers, out of which 28% are female engineers.
The programme has received the highest number of registrations from applicants working in Etihad Airways, the UAE Armed Forces, and Dubai Police. While the average age of applicants is 28, the youngest applicant is just 17 years old and the oldest, 60. A majority of the registrations have come from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
To qualify for the UAE Astronaut Programme, applicants should be UAE nationals above 18 years of age with a bachelor’s degree. After reviewing all applicants, a committee consisting of 10 specialists, including astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi, will shortlist the applicants based on initial interviews and evaluations. The shortlisted candidates will undergo a selection process, after which, two will be selected as the next Emirati astronauts.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
The UAE Astronaut Programme was initiated in April 2017, to prepare Emirati astronaut corps for scientific space exploration missions. The first UAE Astronaut Programme received over 4,000 applicants and gave the UAE its first two astronauts, Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi.
Speaking at the Press Conference, HE Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director-General, MBRSC, announced that two astronauts will be selected from the applications received for the second batch.
AlShaibani said: “We are proud to announce that we will be selecting two astronauts from the second batch of applications for the UAE Astronaut Programme, which will bring the total number of qualified Emirati astronauts up to four. The UAE Astronaut Programme has been a pivotal project for the UAE’s ambitious vision for space research and exploration. Last year, the nation’s dreams came true when Hazzaa AlMansoori became the first Emirati in space and the first Arab to reach the International Space Station. We are now looking for the next batch of Emirati astronauts who will carry on this journey and inspire future generations to follow their aspirations for space exploration.”
Salem AlMarri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, remarked: “The sustainability of the UAE Astronaut Programme is vital to the realisation of our long-term goals. That’s why, just months after the return of Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori from the International Space Station, we started our search for the next batch of Emirati Astronauts. I am thrilled to announce that so far, the response to the second batch of UAE astronauts Programme has been phenomenal. With just one month left to go until registrations close, I call out to all Emiratis, who have ever dreamt of space exploration, to apply for the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme.”
Speaking about his experience, astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori said, “Representing the UAE in space has been one of the most fulfilling and proud moments for me. Through their scientific work aboard the International Space Station, astronauts play a key role in finding answers to some of the pressing questions about humanity’s present and the future. Mission One’s success has played a key role in inspiring the youth of the country, and I am looking forward to working closely with the next batch of Emirati astronauts.”