Who will follow in the footsteps of Hazza Al Mansoori?

The UAE is edging closer to sending the first female Emirati astronaut into space, with new candidates for the UAE’s space programme revealed.

Yesterday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, revealed that 4,305 nationals had applied for this year’s intake into the programme, including 1,400 Emirati women.

In Tweeting the announcement, Sheikh Mohammed said he was “Proud of the desire, proud of the passion, proud of the people of the country.”

Of the 4,305 applicants, two people will be selected to join the coveted UAE Astronaut Programme, which falls under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

The MBRSC shared details on the applicants employment sectors and university majors, with engineering and business majors having the strongest representations.

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The recruitment drive follows the success of last year’s groundbreaking mission for Hazza Al Mansoori, who became the first Emirati to fly into space. He’s colleague, Sultan Al Neyadi, was the mission’s back-up astronaut.

Once the two new candidates undergo the required training, they will join Maj Al Mansoori and Dr Al Neyadi – swelling the UAE’s space fleet to a four-person squad.

For now, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre is tasked with narrowing down the list of candidates to create a shortlist of 300 applicants.

Applications for the 2020 intake into the UAE Astronaut Programme are now closed.

Image: Twitter