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UAE names its first astronaut, who will fly to space in September

DUBAI: Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced that it has selected Hazzaa Al Mansoori as the prime astronaut and Sultan Al Neyadi as the backup astronaut for the International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi are currently undergoing training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia in preparation for this mission. Al Mansoori will fly for an eight-day space mission to ISS aboard a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 25 September 2019 and return to Earth aboard a Soyuz-MS 12.

Sending the first Arab and Emirati astronaut to ISS is a historic milestone for the UAE.

During his stay at ISS, Al Mansoori will undertake a scientific mission to study the impact of microgravity in comparison with that of gravity on Earth. This mission includes 15 experiments that will be selected based on MBRSC’s ‘Science in Space’ competition, which targets schools in the UAE. Moreover, the reaction of vital indicators of the human body will be studied before and after the trip to compare with Earth results. This is the first time this kind of research will be done on an astronaut from the Arab region.

The results of this study will later be compared with research conducted on astronauts from other regions. Furthermore, Al Mansoori will be assigned to complete existing scientific missions at ISS laboratories.

Al Mansoori is a Functional Check Flight (FCF) Pilot F-16B60. He graduated from the Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College, which qualified him to become an F-16B60 instructor pilot and a demo pilot, SOLO Demonstration pilot in F-16B60. He was one of the first Arab and Emirati pilots to take part in the Dubai Air Show’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of UAE Armed Forces.

He also presented a show on the UAE National Day 2017 and the 50th anniversary of UAE Air Force 2018. Al Neyadi holds a PhD in Information Technology (Data Leakage Prevention). He worked as Network Security Engineer for the UAE Armed Forces before joining the UAE Astronaut Programme.

Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi were selected from 4,022 applicants to the UAE Astronaut Programme after a series of advanced medical and psychological tests as well as personal interviews conducted according to the highest international standards.

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