The two astronauts have returned from training in Russia ahead of a press conference…

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre received the first Emirati astronauts as they returned to Dubai.

Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi have been partaking in an intense training program in Russia, but have returned to Dubai for a press conference on Monday February 25, at which one of them will be revealed as the first Emirati astronaut headed to space.

According to Russian media reports, a date for the mission to space has been set for September 25, and one of the two Emirati astronauts, will blast off for the International Space Station as part of a three-man mission.

The astronaut will spend eight days there before returning on October 3. It’s two days shorter than the original ten-day mission, which was previously announced.

This is set to be confirmed at the upcoming press conference. Also at the press conference, questions asked publicly on Twitter using the hashtag #UAEAstronauts will be put forward to the astronauts.

During their meeting, Dubai’s Crown Prince highlighted the importance of the mission that the first Emirati astronauts are tasked with. Sheikh Hamdan also reviewed the various steps of UAE Astronaut Programme, and the training they undergone at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia.

The two astronauts were selected from over 4000 applicants when the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre launched the UAE Astronaut Programme in 2017.

The programme has become one of the most important projects of the National Space Programme. It was launched in April 2017 with the aim of establishing an infrastructure for the UAE space industry.

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Images: Dubai Media Office