Hazza Al Mansouri looks forward to welcoming UAE's next astronauts

First Emirati astronaut excited for the future of the country's burgeoning space sector

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UAE history-maker Hazza Al Mansouri is looking forward to welcoming the country's next two astronauts.

Maj Al Mansouri cemented his place in the record books when he became the first Emirati to journey into space in September, 2019.

The first Emirati astronaut spent eight days aboard the International Space Station – offering hope and inspiration to those eager to follow in his footsteps.

The UAE launched a major search for two astronauts to join Maj Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi in December, 2019, with 4,305 Emiratis vying for the role.

Maj Al Mansouri is eager to meet his new colleagues, who he said are due to be selected soon.

"In a few days, two new Emirati astronauts will join Sultan and me," Maj Al Mansouri said on Twitter.

"They have been chosen from 4,305 candidates after undergoing a series of tests and interviews. We are excited to work with them and garner new milestones for the UAE's space sector."

Fourteen candidates are in the running for the coveted roles, nine men and five women.

The chosen astronauts are expected to begin their training at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston once the next class begins in the second half of 2021.

Once they graduate, they will qualify for Nasa-led missions to space.

The UAE space industry has already enjoyed a remarkable year with the successful journey to Mars of the Hope probe.