|12 February, 2018

One quarter of applicants for UAE astronaut programme are women - official

Four Emiratis are expected to be chosen to represent their country in space exploration trips

Astronaut in space around the solar battery. "Elements of this image furnished by NASA"

Astronaut in space around the solar battery. "Elements of this image furnished by NASA"

Around 25 percent of United Arab Emirates citizens who have applied to take part in the country’s astronaut programme were women, an official in Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has said.

A government-backed plan to select, train and sponsor four UAE citizens to become astronauts was announced by UAE vice-president and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in December. 

The four applicants are expected to be chosen after the deadline for applications to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), which manages the programme, ends next month.

Salem Humaid AlMarri, a science and technology sector assistant at MBRSC told a press conference at the World Government Summit (WGS) on Sunday that one quarter of the applicants so far were women.


“And the oldest applicant we have is 67 years old and the youngest one is 17. Sixty percent of those who applied have a college degree and 21 percent are pilots,” he added.

AlMarri and Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, the director general of MBRSC, told Zawya and My Salaam in a joint interview in December that MBRSC is seeking candidates with well-rounded skillsets, and that the ideal candidate needs to be a team player, have strong leadership skills and be able to take decisions under pressure. 

According to AlMarri, the successful candidates are expected to be chosen by the end of this year or early next year.

For more on the UAE’s Astronaut Programme, click here.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)


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