More Than 3,000 People Have Applied to be the UAE's Next Astronaut

By Sarah Garden
07 March 2020
The UAE Astronaut Programme, Space, News, Hazza Al Mansouri, Sultan Al Neyadi, NASA, Astronaut
And applications are still open

Ask a bunch of kids what they want to be when they grow up and there are a few responses that you’ll always hear: footballer, superhero, fire fighter, and astronaut. Why? People from all of these careers (we use that word loosely for the superheroes) are met with a certain amount of awe.

With that said, it comes as little surprise that 3,000 Emirati hopefuls have applied to be in the UAE’s next batch of astronauts. And if you fancy giving it a go, applications are still open.

Read More: First Emirati Astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri Blasts Off Into Space Today... Here's What He Can Expect

The UAE Astronaut Programme selected two locals during the first selection process in 2018. Now it’s time for another two to join the elite ranks. Senior officials from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) were joined by the astronauts, Hazzaa AlMansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi, during a press conference to announce the timeline on Tuesday.

During the event, the selection committee explained what they are looking for during the process. A high level of education ranked highly, and they are particularly keen to hear from people from a STEM studies background. Physical health is also important, along with a determined attitude.

According to Salem Al Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, MBRSC, over 30 percent of the applicants so far are women. Although the average age is 28, their youngest prospect is 17, and the oldest is 60. The majority of people who applied are engineers (31 percent), and 17 percent are pilots. There are also hopefuls from Dubai Police, and the UAE Armed Forces.

Read More: 'The Nasa Archives: 60 Years In Space' Brings The Space Agency's History To Life

Speaking about the UAE Astronaut Programme, Al Marri said: "Two years ago, we didn't have enough Arabic content related to space travel, and we had to refer back to ROSCOSMOS and NASA for information. Today, we can speak from our viewpoint."

The deadline for applications is currently March 31, however, they are considering extending this to May 5. Shortlisted candidates will undergo tests and interviews before the final interviews in November. The names of the programme’s two newest astronauts will be announced in January 2021.

Think you've got what it takes?