UAE reveals its first ever astronauts for International Space Station mission

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The astronauts will join a mission to the International Space Station. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 03 September 2018

UAE reveals its first ever astronauts for International Space Station mission

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said the duo will “raise the bar of ambitions for future Emirati generations”
  • UAE has already announced plans to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars

DUBAI: The UAE on Monday named its first two astronauts to go on a mission to the International Space Station.
Emiratis Hazza Al-Mansouri, 34, and 37-year-old Sultan Al-Neyadi were selected from more than 4,000 candidates who applied for the UAE astronaut program.
The UAE’s Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said the duo will “raise the bar of ambitions for future Emirati generations.”
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: “Just as there is no limit to space, there is no limit to our ambitions. We have great confidence in our sons in carrying on excellence.”




Sultan Al-Neyadi and Hazza Al-Mansouri were selected from 4,000 applicants to teh UAE atronaut program. (WAM)


The two men were among nine candidates chosen for a final evaluation phase after they underwent an “intensive assessment” in Russia, by experts from the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The UAE’s state news agency WAM hailed the step as a “historic achievement for all Arabs.”
One of the astronauts will fly into space in April, on a 10-day Russian mission to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft. The second astronaut will be in reserve.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid last year vowed to send four Emirati astronauts to the space station within five years.

“We also have Dh20 billion investments in the space sector. More importantly, we have human resources whose limits are higher than the sky,” Sheikh Mohammed said in Monday’s announcement.
The UAE has already announced plans to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021, naming it “Hope.”
The astronaut program would make the UAE one of only a handful of states in the Middle East to have sent a person into space, as it looks to make good on a pledge to become a global leader in space exploration.
The first Arab in space was Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud, who flew on a US shuttle mission in 1985. Two years later, Syrian air force pilot Muhammed Faris spent a week aboard the Soviet Union’s Mir space station.

 


Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

Updated 28 min 37 sec ago

Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

  • ‘One of the mega trends you see around the world is that preferences matter’
  • ‘We have to change the way we view technology’

DUBAI: The next wave of value creation in the business world will not come from companies that develop artificial intelligence (AI), but from those that can innovatively deploy technology to transform industries, Waleed Al-Muhairi, deputy CEO of Mubadala Investment Co., said on Tuesday at the first Middle East SALT conference.

The two-day event is taking place in Abu Dhabi, and is run by former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

It is hosting more than 1,000 leaders from the worlds of investment, finance and policymaking at the city’s financial hub, the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Discussing Mubadala’s partnerships with China, the UAE’s largest trading partner, Al-Muhairi referred to billion-dollar investments in China’s private and public sectors.

“We have a wonderful partnership with China. We’ve established a $10 billion fund there with the China Development Bank, and have deployed almost $2 billion in 15 to 16 different sectors, with technology being the main theme,” he said.

Mubadala currently has $240 billion of assets under management, with close to $100 billion invested in the US (60 percent of the state-owned holding company’s portfolio).

The remaining 40 percent is divided “almost” equally between investments in the UAE, Europe and Asia, “with a heavy concentration in China,” said Al-Muhairi.

“But our objective is to participate in the growth and success of a large, growing and dynamic economy like China’s,” he said, adding that it is only a matter of time before the country becomes the “largest economy on Earth.”

On technology, Al-Muhairi cited Asia-focused private equity firm Hill House, which transformed a mid-level athletic footwear company in China to the No. 1 brand in the country through the deployment of AI.

The company applied the expertise of 50 scientists and engineers to revolutionize the manufacturing process of footwear, while subsequently improving the brand’s retail experience.

By placing censors on the shelves to detect customers’ interest in buying specific footwear, they were able to shorten the cycle of understanding customer feedback and preference, said Al-Muhairi.

“One of the mega trends you see around the world is that preferences matter. And those business that are able to curate a customized experience for customers are going to be the ones who succeed, especially in the retail industry,” he added.

While people often refer to technology as a “sector,” Al-Muhairi believes it is similar to the concept of “electricity” in that it empowers projects and is infused in everything we do today.

“We have to change the way we view technology,” he said, adding that while it is the “life-blood of any successful company” and the “single most important enabler,” it is not an objective in itself. 

“We don’t invest in technology for the sake of technology. We invest in it because it will transform something or it will create value and a return,” he said.