The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced the first Emirati analog astronauts for the UAE Analog Mission#1, which is part of the Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station (SIRIUS) SIRIUS 20/21 program.
The candidates, Mr. Abdallah Al Hammadi and Mr. Saleh Al Ameri, one primary and one backup will be part of the mission’s CrewONE team. The mission will evaluate the effects of isolation and confinement on human psychology, physiology and team dynamics to help prepare for long-duration space exploration, a topic selected from the University of Sharjah.
Mr. Abdallah Al Hammadi has a foundation degree in aerospace engineering and is the Crew Chief of the Maintenance Department in the UAE armed force. Mr. Saleh Al Ameri has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and is currently working as a mechanical engineer with ADNOC.
In preparation for the SIRIUS 20/21 mission, an 8-month analog mission that will be conducted at the NEK ground-based analog facility in Moscow, Russia later this year, the astronauts are currently undergoing in-house training, which includes training on the experiments proposed by principal investigators from local universities and Russian language training.
“Through the futuristic vision of our leadership, we have achieved significant milestones in the space sector, and we will continue to invest in projects that are critical for advancing our knowledge-based economy. The UAE’s participation in the analog mission reaffirms and continues our rich legacy of collaborative efforts to benefit humankind and ensure the sustained growth of the global space economy.”
One of the proposed research studies is from the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences that focuses on exploring how prolonged exposure to a space analog environment impacts cardiovascular variability and cardio-postural interactions.
The analog mission is a part of the space exploration strategy that NASA had adopted as part of its Human Research Program. As part of the mission, crewmembers are isolated and given specific tasks, which they must complete without communicating to the outside world. The mission replicates the various stages of a manned mission to Mars including launch, orbit, landing, and return.
The SIRIUS program includes a multi-cultural crew that could carry out long-term missions to Mars or other space exploration missions. Such missions are vital for acquiring a full understanding of how humans react physically when isolated and its effects on people in confined spaces.