Emirati astronauts complete 30 hours of training in Germany

The pair learn to operate the equipment and systems used at the International Space Station ahead of the journey in September

Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi undergo training at European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.Courtesy Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre
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The UAE's first two Emirati astronauts have completed their training at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi have finished around 30 hours of theoretical and practical training under the supervision of specialists from the European Space Agency.

In that time the pair learnt to operate the equipment and systems used in the European unit, named Columbus, at the International Space Station - where Mr Al Mansouri is due on September 25.

They also learnt to use the Life Support System, that ensures the survival of the astronauts in the ISS, and how to communicate with the ground station.

The Columbus Laboratory is ESA’s largest single contribution to the ISS, shared by Nasa and ESA to carry out scientific research in an almost non-gravitational environment.

When Mr Al Mansouri travels to the ISS this year, one of his tasks will be to carry out four scientific experiments.

He and backup astronaut Mr Al Neyadi learnt to perform these experiments which include tests for time perception in microgravity and a DNA-m age test, that tracks the changes that happen to human DNA when travelling

and spending time in space. It will be the first time this experiment will be carried out on a human from the Arab region.

The first phase of some of the experiments have already been completed with data and samples having been collected from both astronauts.

Mr Al Mansouri, part of the prime crew, will travel to the ISS with Roscosmos commander Oleg Skripochka and American Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir in less than three months. They will be launched into space aboard the Soyuz MS 15 with Mr Al Mansouri due back on Earth on October 3.