The new colonial movement: UAE has announced that it has chosen two more astronauts to raise its astronaut corp to four, one of whom has already flown to ISS.
The UAE government announced it picked Nora AlMatrooshi and Mohammad AlMulla from a pool of 4,305 applicants to join the country’s small astronaut corps. They join Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi, the first Emirati astronauts selected in 2018.
AlMatrooshi is the first woman selected as an Emirati astronaut. A mechanical engineer, she has been working for the National Petroleum Construction Company in the UAE. AlMulla is a pilot and head of the training department of the Dubai Police’s Air Wing Centre.
Obviously, for an Islamic nation to pick a woman to be an astronaut is significant, and indicates the UAE’s commitment to moderating the more oppressive aspects of its religion.
As significant however is the fact that all four of these UAE astronauts are now undergoing training in the United States. Previously UAE’s astronauts trained in Russia. Though the UAE has not announced when its next manned flight will be, and has also said it wants to use both American and Russia spacecraft, the training in the U.S. strongly suggests the UAE wants to buy an American flight next time, most likely on a SpaceX Dragon capsule.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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