This year opens a new, invigorating chapter in UAE’s determined pursuit of prioritising advanced sciences in order to empower its future generations. The first batch of four young Emirati astronauts will begin their journey towards the grand goal of transforming UAE’s space exploration ambitions into a reality by 2021. On December 6, 2017, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, called on young Emiratis to register for the UAE Astronauts Programme to become the nation’s first batch of astronauts. The selection process, which will get underway this year, will see the four Emirati astronauts go through basic training from 2019 to 2020, and from 2020 to 2021, the astronauts will go through advanced training, where they will learn crucial day-to-day life on the International Space Station (ISS) plus how to conduct different scientific experiments while at the ISS.
This is a seminal step in UAE’s ever-progressive endeavour to keep in step with the rapid pace of evolution in the modern era. Space exploration, a spirit of scientific enquiry, hunger for innovation and the pursuit of breakthroughs for a common global good are what mark societies that emerge as leaders and the sooner these requisites are integrated into the national consciousness, particularly for the upcoming generations, the more bounteous the knowledge harvest for the country.
The UAE, despite its young age, has done well to undertake the challenge of nurturing its youth to become astronauts and boldly enter the frontier of space exploration. It’s a far-sighted move that will yield rich rewards as the country moves ahead to play an increasingly dynamic role on the international stage.