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11 Feb, 2018 17:09

Fantastic four: 3,000 applicants for UAE astronaut mission

Fantastic four: 3,000 applicants for UAE astronaut mission

Thousands of Emiratis are vying for a place on the United Arab Emirates’ first ever astronaut program, with one quarter of applications said to be from women.

Only four spots are available on the oil nation’s astronaut programme, which last December resulted in a frenzy of interested people hoping to join the first UAE-sponsored mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The application process, which requires wannabe space travellers be UAE nationals and hold a university degree, has drawn a staggering 3,000 candidates, according to local reports.

The government has encouraged fitness fanatics, space enthusiasts, ex-military personnel and doctors to apply for the highly-coveted positions.

READ MORE: Fit and ready to fly? UAE space program seeks wannabe astronauts

Almost a quarter of the applicants for the “best job ever” are women, according to Saeed Al Gergawi, director of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, where the lucky astronauts will undergo intense training.

“It shows the government’s policies really work for the promotion of women,” Gergawi said, report The National newspaper.

Al Gergawi described interest in the project —  which comes after the government predicted the country could settle explorers on Mars by 2117 —  as “massive.”

Last year, UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced that the country’s space program was dedicated to sending four Emirati astronauts to the ISS.

“The people of the UAE will break barriers, there is no power strong enough to stand in the way of those who believe nothing is impossible. Our ambitious goals are fueled by dedicated people, who support us until, without hesitation or scepticism, we succeed,” he said.

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