UAE astronaut candidates begin intensive physical testing in Russia

The candidates are undergoing "mission specific medical tests" for three weeks in Moscow

The centrifuge machine where the candidates will be spun at speed to experience high levels of G-force and prepare them for space missions. Courtesy Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre
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The final nine candidates vying to become the UAE’s first astronauts have arrived in Moscow for medical and physical testing.

They will undergo “mission-specific medical tests” for three weeks at the Russian State Organisation, Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre and at the Institute of Biomedical Problems.

The rigorous exams include ultrasounds, electrocardiograms and 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, hearing and sinus tests.

The candidates will be spun in a centrifuge in a pressure chamber to test their ability to tolerate high levels of G-forces for prolonged periods of time.

The examinations are extensive, and specific to space missions, to test levels of endurance and prepare them for the harsh conditions in space.


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The results will help to decide who is chosen to be in the first Emirati Astronauts Corps. The final four will receive training before carrying out different space missions over the next few years.

Recently, the UAE and Russia signed an agreement to send the first Emirati astronaut to take part in scientific research on a Russian mission to the International Space Station, aboard a Soyuz-MS spacecraft.

Two astronauts from the Emirati corps will be trained in Russia, one as the primary astronaut and the other as back-up.

The primary astronaut will join a Russian commander and an American astronaut on the flight in April next year.

“We believe that these examinations will not only support the selection process but will also earn the candidates a deep understanding about space mission preparations and conditions,” said Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

“We look forward to receiving detailed evaluation of each candidate to support the selection process of the first Emirati Astronauts Corps.”

The UAE Astronaut Programme was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, as part of the UAE National Space Programme.