1 Aug 2018 21:07

No women among UAE candidates for space flight aboard Russian spacecraft - source

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) - There are no women among the candidates for the United Arab Emirates' first astronaut, a source in the space rocket industry told Interfax.

"All nine candidates are male. There are no women among potential first UAE cosmonauts," the source said.

Roscosmos said earlier that nine candidates for the first UAE astronaut had arrived in Russia.

"A UAE delegation of representatives from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and nine candidates for a space flight has arrived in Russia for a medical selection to organize a space flight with various research missions. The medical selection of the candidates will take three weeks. Two candidates will be selected upon examination," Roscosmos said.

The training of the UAE astronaut and his backup for a flight to the International Space Station (ISS) will begin in August 2018, Roscosmos said.

"The first UAE astronaut's ISS fight will be in April 2019 and last about a week. The liftoff will be carried out aboard a Soyuz MS-12 manned transport spacecraft," the statement said.

"We have begun practical cooperation with the MBRSC on training the first UAE astronaut for the flight. We hope our cooperation with UAE partners will be long-term and strategic," Roscosmos' Executive Director for Manned Missions Sergei Krikalyov was quoted in the statement as saying.

It was reported earlier that Roscosmos had signed a preliminary agreement with the RBRSC on the first UAE astronaut's training and flight to the ISS.

"The subject matter of the main agreement and the present tentatively signed agreement are the services of selecting, training and flying one UAE astronaut to the ISS. The flight of around ten days will take place in April 2019. The liftoff will be carried out aboard the Soyuz MS-12 manned transport spacecraft. The UAE astronaut is scheduled to be returned by a Soyuz MS-10 crew," Roscosmos said on its website.

The agreement was signed by Krikalyov and the MBRSC's General Director Dr. Yusuf Namad Al Shaibini.

The final version will be signed before the end of August.