U.A.E. to Send Astronaut to Space

Mission to launch on September 25

In this photo provided by NASA the Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-11 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, December 18, 2019.
Aubrey Gemignani,AP

The United Arab Emirates has announced the date the first astronaut from the Gulf Arab nation will go into space.

The UAE said on Monday it will send either Hazza al-Mansouri or Sultan al-Nayadi to the International Space Station on September 25 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Organizers had said they’d announce the astronaut who’s going but instead gave just the launch date. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had already announced the astronauts’ names last September.

The UAE has a fledgling space program with big ambitions. It launched its first locally made satellite, KhalifaSat, in October from Japan. It wants to launch a probe to Mars in 2020.

The UAE also says it wants to colonize Mars by 2117, with a fully functioning city of 600,000.