UAE’s first astronaut going to space in September

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The United Arab Emirates has announced the date on which the first Arab astronaut from the Gulf nation will go to space.

Either Hazza al-Mansouri or Sultan al-Nayadi will be sent to the International Space Station on September 25 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, the UAE said on Monday.


Organizers had said they would announce the name of the astronaut set to go, but instead just gave the launch date. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had already announced the names of the nominated astronauts last September.

The UAE has a fledgling space program with big ambitions. It launched its first locally made satellite, KhalifaSat, in October from Japan, and aims to launch a probe to Mars in 2020.

The UAE also says it wants to colonize Mars by 2117, with a fully functioning city of 600,000 residents.

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