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UAE Astronauts 2018

This May Be the Most Coveted Job in the UAE

As the UAE bulks up its space travel program, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called upon young Emirati men and women to become the country's first astronauts.

Late last year, Sheikh Mo announced the search for the first Emirati astronauts, with plans to send the right candidate into space within the next few years.

"On this day, a new chapter in our history begins with the launch of the first UAE Astronaut Programme, dedicated to sending four Emirati Astronauts into space. The people of the UAE will break new barriers; nothing can stand in the way of those who believe nothing is impossible," Sheikh Mo wrote in a Tweet.

Now, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center has announced the number of applicants received so far, and it's pretty staggering.

So far, more than 3,000 Emiratis have applied to become the country's first astronaut, and about one in four of the applicants are women.

Salem Humaid Al Marri, programme manager of UAE Astronaut Programme, told the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday that the numbers "show the Government's policies really work for the promotion of women."

Six out of ten applicants had degrees in science, mathematics, technology, and engineering, and one in five is a qualified pilot.

By the end of 2018, the space center will narrow it down to a team of four who will begin training for missions to the International Space Station.

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