UAE to send 1st astronaut into space aboard Russian Soyuz rocket in September

The United Arab Emirates on Monday announced the date the first astronaut from the Gulf Arab nation will go into space. The country will send either Hazza al-Mansouri or Sultan al-Nayadi to the International Space Station on September 25 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, AP reports. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had already announced the astronauts’ names last September. The UAE has a fledgling space program, and it launched its first locally made satellite, KhalifaSat, in October from Japan. It wants to launch a probe to Mars in 2020.