NASA to train four Emirati astronauts in deal with Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid at MBRSC. (supplied)
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Astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi are currently taking part in the training. (Supplied)
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Picture showing the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, a training facility and neutral buoyancy pool operated by NASA. (supplied)
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Updated 22 September 2020

NASA to train four Emirati astronauts in deal with Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

  • Dubai Media Office said the program will prepare Emirati astronauts physically and psychologically
  • The UAE has risen to become a major international space exploration force

DUBAI: Four Emirati astronauts will undergo specialized training at NASA as part of a new agreement with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The strategic agreement announced on Monday aims to prepare the astronauts for advanced space missions.
Astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi are currently taking part in the training of the 2021 NASA Astronaut Candidate Class. Two more will be selected from the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme to join the NASA program.
Dubai Media Office said the program will prepare Emirati astronauts physically and psychologically for future space missions.
The training program will be conducted at NASA's Johnson Space Center, one of the world’s largest centers for spaceflight training, research, and mission control.
The UAE has risen to become a major international space exploration force.
Last year, AlMansoori joined a mission to the International Space Station and in July, the UAE launched a probe to Mars.


Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert moved to notorious Tehran jail

Updated 6 min 58 sec ago

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert moved to notorious Tehran jail

  • During a previous stint at Evin, Moore-Gilbert reported being held in restrictive conditions and needing psychiatric medications for “gravely damaged” mental health
  • Friends believe she is now being held in the same ward as before, a facility controlled by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

SYDNEY: An Australian academic held in Iran for more than two years has been returned to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, friends said Friday, prompting fresh concern about her wellbeing.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert — who is serving a 10-year sentence on charges of espionage — had disappeared inside Iran’s prison system a week ago, sparking frantic efforts to learn her whereabouts.
“I’m relieved that the Australian government has finally managed to locate Kylie six days after she went missing,” friend and fellow Middle East expert Dara Conduit told AFP. “But make no mistake: this is not a win for Kylie.”
Conditions at Evin are believed to be marginally better than Moore-Gilbert’s previous jail at Qarchak — a women’s facility that has been blacklisted under UN human rights sanctions and is notorious for the ill-treatment of political prisoners.
During a previous stint at Evin, Moore-Gilbert reported being held in restrictive conditions and needing psychiatric medications for “gravely damaged” mental health.
Friends believe she is now being held in the same ward as before, a facility controlled by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Australia’s foreign ministry has said securing her release is an “absolute priority,” but was forced to admit this week that her whereabouts were unknown.
“We do not accept the charges upon which Dr. Moore-Gilbert was convicted, and want to see her returned to Australia as soon as possible,” the ministry said after ambassador Lyndall Sachs was able to visit her in Qarchak Prison on October 19.
Throughout Moore-Gilbert’s internment, friends and family have become increasingly critical of what they say is Australia’s ineffective diplomatic approach.
According to Conduit: “Not one iota of progress has been made in her case, despite the government’s assurances that Kylie’s case is under control.”
She called Moore-Gilbert’s transfer back to Evin “an utter indictment of the Australian government’s failure on Kylie’s case.”
“After 778 days, she is back at square one in the prison in which she was originally held.”
Moore-Gilbert was reportedly arrested at Tehran airport by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in September 2018 after attending a conference in Qoms.
She is just one of several Westerners being held in Iran on national security grounds.
Negotiations with Tehran are notoriously difficult, with governments and families forced to decide if quiet discussions are less likely to antagonize captors, often against a fraught geopolitical backdrop.
Iran’s complex political and judicial system — which sees hard-liners, reformists and myriad state institutions vying for influence — can make things more complex still.