Photo Credit: Salem AlMarri, MBRSC director-general / Twitter
Astronauts from the United Arab Emirates' Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center is preparing for the first long space mission ever carried out by an Arab astronaut.

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“Signing the agreement to send the first Arab astronaut in a long-term mission of 180 days to the International Space Station is [a] new milestone for the UAE space sector” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai.

First Arab Nation to Enter Space Race
“Our space sector is constantly evolving. The new mission will add new experiences and knowledge to Emirati astronaut and the scientific community”, Al Maktoum said.

Last year, the UAE sent its Hope Probe into orbit around Mars, the first Arab country and fifth space agency to do so.

Next year, an Emirati astronaut will be sent to the International Space Station in accordance with an agreement signed by the Space Center with Axiom Space.

The mission is set for launch in Spring 2023 as part of SpaceX Crew 6.

Strengthening UAE Space Collaboration with NASA
“The exciting new era of human spaceflight entered a new phase with the signing of an agreement between MBRSC and Axiom Space.

“The agreement lays the groundwork for one of our astronauts to join NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 on board the ISS,” tweeted Salem AlMarri, director-general of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center.

“Our Emirati astronauts are highly equipped for this mission having undergone a rigorous training program that prepared them to conduct long-duration missions,” AlMarri wrote.

“Spacewalks and operating ISS systems were among many practices covered during their sessions.”

The mission marks a milestone in the UAE’s rapid growth in the space sector, AlMarri noted, “solidifying our position as a key player in human spaceflight.”

First Female Astronaut Among Candidates for 2023 Space Flight
Nora al-Matrooshi, 28, one of the members of the UAE’s space center, is the first female Arab to become an astronaut.

The Emirati who will be sent to the stars in Spring 2023 will conduct large-scale scientific experiments as well as a cultural and educational program while on the International Space Station, collaborating with various nations to offer new data to support future missions, Al Marri said.

The UAE will be the 11th nation worldwide to send its astronauts on a long-duration mission to the International Space Station.

Israel, UAE to Collaborate on Beresheet 2 Moon Mission
Israel’s SpaceIL space company and the United Arab Emirates have signed a cooperation agreement to collaborate on a joint mission to the moon in 2024, Technion UK reported Sunday.

The Beresheet 2 mission will be the second attempt by Israel to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface after its first, previous attempt failed.

The Beresheet 2 Mission will be “the first science and technology project to create a common history between the two peoples, with the flags of Israel and the Emirates together on the moon,” SpaceIL CEO Shimon Sarid said in a statement.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.