The UAE’s two astronauts recently underwent highly specialised physical tests in Russia to simulate exposure to high speeds and increase their endurance levels.
In the centrifuge tests, Maj Hazza Al Mansouri, 35, and his backup astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, 38, were strapped into harnesses and swung around a huge metal arm, subjecting them to stress that was about eight times the force of gravity.
Centrifuges accelerate up to 9Gs – about 96 kilometres per hour – in less than a second and rotate dozens of times a minute.
The simulation prepares astronauts for the rigours of space flight, where g-forces circulate blood away from the brain and cause it to pool in the lower part of the body, resulting in loss of consciousness.
While the tests raise the endurance levels of astronauts, special suits prevent blood from settling in the legs.
The astronauts must also learn specific breathing techniques to deal with the stress caused by g-forces.
The centrifuge sessions are part of the final steps in their medical examinations.
Maj Al Mansouri – who will become the first Emirati in space – will blast off for the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft from Kazakhstan on September 25.
He will serve as flight engineer alongside Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir, under Roscosmos commander Oleg Skripochka, a veteran cosmonaut, during the eight-day mission.
This month, it was revealed that Maj Al Mansouri will host a traditional Emirati food night on board the ISS.
Maj Al Mansouri will return to Earth in early October.
The former air force pilot spent much of this year at Russia’s Star City undergoing space and ground survival training.