Emirati astronauts, Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, have begun a training programme at NASA’s Lyndon B Johnson Space Centre, as part of the preparations for the mission to the International Space Station.
The two-week programme includes training on various units and components of the US segment of the ISS, which includes the Japan Kibo laboratory and the Columbus Laboratory, to conduct scientific research in cooperation with NASA.
NASA also held a press conference for the mission’s main crew, which is set to travel to the ISS on September 25 and comprises flight leader, cosmonaut Oleg Scripochka, and NASA astronaut, Jessica Meir.
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director-general of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: “The MBRSC is committed to building strategic partnerships with major international space agencies, as part of our efforts to support the UAE in preparing Emirati cadres to enrich scientific progress to serve humanity and make further achievements in the space industry, science and research.”
Salem Al Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, highlighted that these exercises are essential for enhancing the skills of Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi to enable them to use the equipment at the ISS, and identify several aspects of life aboard the station, such as preparing food. “By sending the first Arab astronaut to the ISS, the UAE contributes to enriching scientific experiments that study microgravity, including its impact on the human body,” added Al Marri.
Al Mansoori, the UAE’s lead astronaut for the mission, said: “This is a huge responsibility for us, and we are ready to do our best to make it a success, especially with the high-level training we are receiving, and the hard work we do with the crew.”
He will travel for an eight-day space mission to the ISS aboard a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and return to Earth aboard a Soyuz-MS 12.