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About Astronut Program

What does an Astronaut do?

An astronaut is selected to train and study in preparation to represent their nation on a journey to outer space. Having completed the training phases, astronauts will be ready to launch on missions to take them to space with a variety of scientific research objectives. At this time, these missions are conducted aboard the International Space Station, however as a result of this research, the objective is to one day see human spaceflight move through deep space to other planets, such as Mars.

When an astronaut returns to Earth, their work adapts to a different programme. While they will always be ready to launch on a potential second mission by having intermittent refresher training, a large part of their time will also be spent travelling the world as a space ambassador and representative of their nation to talk to those inspired by their journey. They will be responsible for promoting the importance of STEM education in the youth, by sharing their experiences to people that look upon them as being an inspirational figure and role model. In addition, they will also use their experience to help train and coach the next generation of astronauts in preparation for their own journey to space.

The Emirati astronauts will be team members of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, and will join with the centre in advancing the UAE’s position as a leading scientific and space nation.

  • Selection
  • Training



The process for selection begins when a candidate submits their application. Once received, the applicant will be assessed and forwarded for basic medical and psychometric examinations then to detailed and advanced psychometric examinations, before passed to the interview process to determine their suitability to fly to space.




End of 2018 - Final selection process - Four candidates are chosen as the Emirati astronaut corps



Training to become an astronaut can take around 3 years, and will be predominantly conducted in different destinations overseas at specialist astronaut training facilities.

2019 - 2020

Basic training

Once the astronaut corps has been selected, the basic training begins. This is a one-year module that provides an overview of the UAE space programme, and the foundation learning of disciplines such as space engineering and scientific research. As the basic training progresses, the astronauts will go on to learn about life aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which includes learning about procedures and systems on the space station, as well as the launch process. The final component involves preparation for an EVA (spacewalk) which is conducted underwater, rendezvous and docking, and performance training.

2020 - 2021

Advanced Training

Advanced training lasts for one to two years, and this is the moment where the astronauts are fully prepared with the skills and capabilities to take part in a mission aboard the ISS. This training is very in-depth, and covers disciplines crucial to day-to-day life on the space station. These include operations, maintenance, and payloads. Specialist skills will also be learned during the course of the year that relate to robotics, EVA, navigation, medical and resources. The training also includes the mission specific training where the astronauts will learn how to conduct the different scientific experiments. Once this training is complete, astronauts will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out their specific mission once they reach the space station.