UAE reveals names of first two astronauts

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi announced the names of two Emiratis who will train for a space mission

International Space Station after undocking of STS-132 2010. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images)

The UAE has released the names of the country's first two astronauts – one of whom will blast into space next year.

Sultan Saif Al Neyadi, a doctor of information technology, and Hazza Al Mansouri, a military pilot, will be sent to Russia for advanced training before next year's mission.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, announced their names on Monday.

Sultan Saif Al Neyadi, a doctor of information technology, left, and Hazza Al Mansouri, a military pilot, are the first Emirati astronauts. 

"Just as there are no limits in space, there are there no limits to our ambition in achieving further success for our nation," he wrote on Twitter.

"We have great confidence in our children carrying the banner of innovation, excellence and distinction."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, simultaneously announced the news and said: "Today, we have the only programme in the region to launch a probe to Mars, we have full satellite capabilities, we have national astronauts and we have a space sector with investments of Dh20 billion. Most importantly, we have a people for whom the sky is the limit. In conclusion, the Arab people can do anything in the right circumstances."

The training is part of preparations to send an Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station in a deal signed with the Russian space programme.

The first astronaut will lift off next April, as part of the agreement with Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency.

As part of the crew on a Soyuz spaceship, he will spend 10 days conducting scientific research on the ISS before returning to Earth.

Speaking earlier this year, Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: “We are proud of all the Emirati talents who registered for this ambitious programme, and we are happy with their persistence to reach highest levels.”

More to follow


Read more:

Countdown to history: The inside story of how the UAE landed its first place in space

UAE astronaut candidates begin intensive physical testing in Russia

We have lift-off: UAE's Khalifa Sat to be launched into space