|By Le Williams | 3 years ago|
The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to send an astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, becoming the latest nation to launch a citizen beyond Earth.
Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid took to Twitter with the initial announcement, with further details revealed via Russian space agency Roscosmos.
In a statement, Roscosmos announced it had signed a preliminary agreement with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre to send a UAE astronaut on a 10-day mission to the ISS in April 2019 aboard a Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft.
The final agreement is arranged to be made by the end of August 2018.
232 people from 18 countries have visited the space station as of June 2018, according to NASA.
UAE Astronaut Program revealed 95 potential astronauts from over 4,000 applicants have been shortlisted, noting 20 of the shortlist are women.
According to the June 6 release, further testing will conclude with the selection of four top candidates and two reserves, comprising the first UAE Astronaut Corps. Candidates will have to learn Russian and skills in robotics, navigation, and medical aid. One of these candidates will make the trip to the ISS, “and the rest of the team will follow.”
It is unclear whether today’s agreement marks any change to these plans.