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UAE to launch first astronaut program, thousands apply

Published: Updated:

More than 3,000 UAE nationals applied to be the first Emirati astronaut in the UAE Astronaut Programme, the program’s manager said in the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre revealed that around one in four of the applicants are women. Salem Humaid al-Marri, the program’s manager, told the National that the number of applicants “were a massive amount for a country the size of the UAE.”

“It shows the Government’s policies really work for the promotion of women,” the newspaper reported him saying.

He added that the space center is in talks with international space agencies in Russia and Europe, including NASA, to train the potential astronauts.

The applicants’ numbers will be narrowed down to four by the end of the year, and they will begin training at the International Space Station, the National reported.

The UAE is also building its first earth observation satellite, the KhalifaSat. The satellite has been transferred to Japan where it will be launched at the end of 2018, according to the newspaper.