Local Press: UAE space dream set to be a reality in 2019

A UAE newspaper has said that the month of April 2019 will be circled in sparkling ink by the UAE as it reaches another milestone in one of the most dynamic domains, space exploration, by sending the first-ever Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian spacecraft.

The agreement signed this week between the UAE and Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, underpins the energy and determination with which the UAE is pursuing its space exploration plans.

In less than half a decade after a vigorous delineation of its space aspirations, the UAE has shown the world how adept it is in converting policies into achievements. Today, its space agenda includes an array of initiatives, building its own satellites, setting up the first Space Research Centre in the Middle East, launching the Hope Probe to Mars, a programme to train Emirati astronauts.

In an editorial in the English language daily, Gulf News, the paper said, “Each of these will offer far-reaching advantages not just for the UAE, but also for the region and the world at large.”

It continued, “The Mohammad bin Rashid Space Centre, founded in 2015, is the force behind UAE’s Mars mission that is preparing to send an unmanned probe to Mars scheduled for launch in 2020, with the probe expected to arrive seven months later, half a century to the year since the founding of the UAE.

“Against this exciting backdrop, the journey to the ISS of the first-ever Emirati astronaut in April next year is a sign of fruition of the UAE’s vision.

“The Emirati astronaut training programme, which is going ahead full steam, has already established the keenness of the citizens to take their country forward on this path. More than 4,000 Emiratis, including a 67-year-old man and three generations of a family, applied to be among the final batch of four UAE astronauts to be groomed to dock at the ISS in the coming years.

“Collaterally, the UAE is also enriching its space industry pursuits through robust collaborations with countries that have a strong track record in this sector. Last year, it set up a joint working group between the UAE Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisation in key areas for cooperation, including the UAE’s Mars mission, remote sensing applications and satellite platforms.

“With UAE’s commitment to nurture dreams for its citizens that ‘start from the sky’, these accomplishments will further galvanise its future generations to aim even higher,” concluded the Dubai-based daily.

Source: Emirates News Agency