UAE Astronauts to Meet Public for First Time


The Race to Space Launches at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature: new book charts history of UAE National Space Programme; Astronauts will meet public, sign copies

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, home to the UAE National Space Programme, has turned author! The Centre will launch its first book, The Race to Space, at the 2019 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The book charts the history and development of the UAE National Space Programme and details the ups and downs and thrills and spills of the programme as the MBRSC team strove to develop its capabilities to reach space from a standing start in record breaking time.

The new book will launch during a special session at the Festival on Friday 1st March at 4pm, in the presence of Emirati astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi, to sign copies of the book, as well as Eng. Salem Humaid AlMarri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs and Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC. The session will be moderated by Isobel Abulhoul, CEO & Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation.

HE Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director General of MBRSC, said: “The MBRSC is part of a global quest to benefit from space exploration and develop its science and research; “Race To Space” documents each imperative step needed to accomplish this quest.” He added, “We hope that the book inspires its readers to be part of the Centre’s journey and follow its programmes that contribute to realising the vision of the UAE leadership of having a leading space sector.”

Salem AlMarri said: “We are happy to be part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and connect with its audience to tell them about our programmes one of which is the UAE Astronaut Programme through the special participation of Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi.” He added, “We expect a session full of excitement and inspiring stories from the first UAE Astronauts of which one of them will go to the International Space Station in a scientific mission by the end of September this year.”

“Nothing could be more exciting than hosting the two Emirati astronauts, sharing their dreams, aspirations, and their own race to space – at the 2019 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature,” said Isobel Abulhoul.

The Race to Space charts the foundation of the home to the UAE National Space Programme, MBRSC, in 2006 and the early days of cautious exploration of the global space industry in search of partners to take part in a far-sighted accelerated technology transfer programme that would eventually culminate in the launch of KhalifaSat, the first satellite wholly designed, developed and engineered in the Arab world, on 29 October 2018. KhalifaSat, developed entirely by MBRSC’s team, stands as one of the most advanced satellites in its class in the world today and is the first satellite 100% built by Emiratis.

That launch is set to be followed by the launch into space of the UAE’s first astronaut in September 2019, which will see him join the International Space Station (ISS) on an 8-day science gathering mission.

MBRSC is also launching a mission to orbit Mars in 2020, with the Emirates Mars Mission sending the Mars Hope Probe to orbit the Red Planet and gather unique and valuable science data over two years of observations which will commence in early 2021, the 50th anniversary of the UAE. The Centre is also charged with developing the pioneering Mars 2117 programme, a long-term vision to establish a human city on Mars by that year.

The UAE’s astronauts will meet the public for the first time during the special session at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Registration for the sessions free but places are strictly limited.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Launched in 2007, this fund, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims towards supporting research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE, helping it to grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world


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