Emirati astronauts may fly to the Moon
Nasa and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) are in talks to include Emirati astronauts as part of a team to fly to the moon, the head of the US space agency said.
Nasa’s Artemis programme involves building a near-lunar station and preparing conditions for the possible colonisation of the moon in the future, but so far only American and Canadian astronauts have participated in the missions.
At a media event on Wednesday on the UAE’s role in the landmark project, Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said talks were underway between the two organisations.
As part of the Artemis project, Nasa plans to launch Lunar Gateway, a small station in lunar orbit that will receive astronauts before they descend to the lunar surface.
The National previously reported that the UAE had expressed interest in supplying an airlock for the station that would help Emirati astronauts set foot on the moon.
Only five space agencies were involved in the creation of the International Space Station and astronauts from each organisation were given access to it.
But now that the ISS is due to be closed in the next ten years due to rising costs and an ageing structure, interest in returning to the moon has been revived.
Astronauts from the UAE, Nora Al Matroushi and Mohammed Al Mulla, are already training at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. They are training alongside Nasa astronauts, whom the US space agency calls the “Artemis Generation”.
Last year, Nasa launched the Orion spacecraft of the Artemis-1 mission around the moon, which helped collect data for future missions.
Artemis-2 is scheduled for next year and will involve American and Canadian astronauts orbiting the moon.
The Artemis-3 mission, the first human landing on the moon in 50 years, could take place by 2027.
Source: The National
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