Approximately 100 days are left for the Soyuz MS-15 to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS). Meanwhile, Emirati astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi are undergoing a series of quality training on various aspects of the mission to ISS, along with the prime and backup flight crews.
Al Mansoori is training with the mission's main crew, alongside Roscosmos commander Oleg Skripochka, and the American NASA astronaut, Jessica Meir. Al Neyadi, the UAE's backup astronaut, is undergoing similar training with the backup team, which is also composed of three astronauts, and includes Sergei Nikolaevich, the Russian flight commander of Roscosmos, and Thomas Henry, the American astronaut of NASA.
Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi will take part in the training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, for the first time with the crews of the mission. The training on the Soyuz MS will specifically be on the take-off and landing and how to deal with emergency situations. The astronauts will undergo a range of medical tests, prior to the mission, to measure their physical and mental fitness levels, as per global standards.
The astronauts will also train on surviving in a water environment next month. Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi are to travel to the European Astronaut Centre, which is overseen by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Cologne, Germany, and then to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, for more training.
His Excellency Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of MBRSC, said, “Day after day, we get closer to achieving the vision of our wise leadership to make the UAE a leader in the space industry, with the first Emirati astronaut travelling into space to conduct scientific experiments that benefit humanity. Less than 100 days are left to travel to ISS. Youth in the UAE and the entire Arab region are looking forward to this historical event. We strive to see the UAE Astronaut Programme achieve its objective of preparing generations of Emiratis who will contribute to enhancing the country's position in space science and research to serve the ambitious aspirations aimed at building a national knowledge-based economy”.
“We are proud of the level that the astronauts have reached due to their huge effort and the support provided to them. They gained a lot of experience through the intensive training that they underwent so far, which qualifies them to carry out the task perfectly. Nevertheless, there is additional training with our partners in Russia, Europe and USA, to prepare them well before 25 September,” said Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Science and Technology Sector, Head of UAE Astronaut Programme.
Al Mansoori will fly for an eight-day space mission to ISS aboard a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft on 25 September 2019 and return to Earth aboard a Soyuz-MS 12.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Launched in 2007, this fund, the first of its kind in the Arab world, aims to support research and development within the ICT sector in the UAE and help it grow into a nationally significant industry with a leading place in the world.