UAE to send astronaut to Moon’s orbit, build lunar station

The UAE also plans to establish two facilities in the country, one for astronaut training and the other for operations at the lunar station.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will send first Emirati and Arab astronaut to the Moon’s orbit on a future Artemis mission and build a lunar space station as part of a new space project announced on Sunday, January 7.

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The UAE announced its participation in Nasa’s Lunar Gateway Station alongside the US, Japan, Canada, and the European Union will.

On Sunday, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Nasa signed an agreement to develop an airlock module for the lunar Gateway.

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The UAE also plans to establish two facilities in the country, one for astronaut training and the other for operations at the lunar station.

The UAE will be responsible for providing the crew and science airlock for the lunar space station, a crucial element in ensuring a safe astronaut environment.

The Gateway’s initial components are anticipated to be launched by 2025, while the Emirates Airlock is set to be launched by 2030.

Taking to X, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, “In the UAE, we began the new year with remarkable projects. Today, I joined President of the UAE in announcing our participation in a global scientific endeavour to construct a lunar space station, in collaboration with the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Union.

“The lunar space station signifies humanity’s return to the moon and serves as a vital platform for launching missions to Mars,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

“The UAE will develop a complete unit within the station weighing 10 tonnes, a space operations centre will be established in the country for the new station and a global centre for training astronauts will also be located on the country’s soil,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Sheikh Mohammed noted that the project will commence immediately, aligning with a significant space ambition for the upcoming decade.

He emphasized the UAE’s pride in its achievements, the dedication of its workforce, and the ambitious aspirations of its citizens.

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan took to X and wrote, “I was pleased to attend with my brother Mohammed bin Rashid the launch of the UAE’s contributions to the historic Lunar Gateway, which will serve as humanity’s first space station around the Moon.

“Through our long-term investment in space exploration and scientific innovation, the UAE is determined to work alongside its international partners to enable collective progress for all.”

Taking to X, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, congratulated the UAE’s leadership, people, and the Arab world as the UAE joins the development of the Gateway Lunar Space Station, alongside the USA, Japan, Canada, and the European Union.

“This project stands out as one of the most significant international endeavours in space exploration in the 21st century. As an integral part of this project, the first Emirati and Arab astronaut will journey to the Moon upon the project’s completion in 2030,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

“My team at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will be responsible for designing, developing, and operating the Emirates Airlock, which is the access point between the Gateway Lunar Space Station’s pressurised cabin and the vacuum of space.”

“Through this project, the UAE will play a vital role in bringing humans back to the Moon after a gap of over 50 years. The Gateway will serve as a launchpad for spacewalk missions around the Moon and future missions to Mars, embodying the spirit of Sheikh Zayed’s ambition and the boundless aspirations of our nation that knows the impossible is possible,” he added.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson took to X and wrote, “Today, we announced the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre will provide the Crew and Science Airlock for NASA Gateway, humanity’s first space station that will orbit the Moon. This is an exciting moment for international collaboration in the cosmos and the future of human space exploration.”

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