The selection of UAE's first astronaut corps has reached its final evaluation phase, with nine candidates in the running.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has said the nine remaining candidates will undergo an "intensive assessment" in Russia by experts from the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
After the assessment, the corps of four astronauts will be chosen based on the comprehensive evaluation for each candidate.
The tests will be conducted by experts from Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and will include intensive medical and physical tests for each candidate to ensure they are ready for special space-related training. This may extend up to 14 days for each candidate.
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"The last phase of the evaluation process for the nine candidates will be a major step for us to choose the best candidate who will represent the UAE in space and carry out national missions assigned to space exploration and scientific research to benefit humanity. This supports the objectives of the UAE Astronauts Programme, as well as thedirectives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to build national capabilities in space science and take this sector to strategic levels," Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the MBRSC, said.
"We appreciate the fruitful and constructive cooperation with a long-established organisation such as the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos. The first task will be to prepare a final comprehensive evaluation of each candidate, to select the first Emirati astronaut corps in accordance with the highest international standards, in addition to the Agency's task of training 2 astronauts, for one of them to join the flight to the International Space Station in April."