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The UAE is sending the first Emirati astronaut to lunar orbit

The country is also facilitating the development of a lunar airlock.

The UAE is — quite literally — reaching for the stars. After recent successful space stints, it’s teamed up with NASA once again for the launch of a Lunar Gateway Station project.

The Lunar Gateway station project is a part of NASA’s Artemis project which is all about long-term lunar exploration. The project involves Canada, Japan, the UAE, the US, and the European Union, all working together to set up a space station in lunar orbit. 

The Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shared that the UAE will be responsible for developing this lunar space station’s airlock, a crucial component ensuring the safety of astronauts and facilitating lunar surface missions. He added that the country also plans to send its first Emirati astronaut to the moon.

This lunar playground is set to have a minimum 15-year lifespan but can be extended if needed. Launching in 2025, the project’s initial elements are set to blast off into space, with the Emirates Airlock following suit in 2030. This airlock will serve as a front door for astronauts travelling from the station to the moon’s surface.

Moreover, through the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the UAE will manage and operate the station, transforming it into a space laboratory capable of conducting a range of scientific and technical experiments.

The collaboration on the Lunar Gateway builds upon the UAE’s prior cooperation with NASA. The success of Hazzaa Al Mansoori’s mission in 2019, followed by Sultan Al Neyadi’s journey to the International Space Station in 2023, demonstrated the UAE’s capabilities in human spaceflight and scientific research. The UAE’s commitment to space exploration is further evident in its ongoing partnership with NASA on Mars research and human studies.

As the UAE charts its course to the moon, the country is at the forefront of cutting-edge space technologies, marking a pivotal moment in its journey to the stars and for its Emirati astronaut.

GO: Visit www.mbrsc.ae for more information.

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Shaheera Anwar - Staff Writer
From a beautiful childhood in Riyadh to a calm and collected life in Dubai. When she's not busy penning her latest masterpiece, you can catch Shaheera lounging with her family or binging on the latest movies. And as a millennial, she's got her sights set on TikTok - hoping to go viral someday (fingers crossed).

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