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The astronaut will be sent to the UAE space center on a 6-month mission

The United Arab Emirates has purchased a seat on the SpaceX rocket to travel to the International Space Station for a six-month stay for an Emirati astronaut, the first long-term mission of the oil-rich federation said Friday. Space.

The seat on the UAE SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was purchased by a private Houston-based company, Axium Space, the space tour operator. The mission will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida next year.

This marks the second time the UAE has sent an astronaut into space. In 2019, Major Hajja Al-Mansouri spent eight days on a mission to the International Space Station. The UAE statement did not identify the astronaut selected for the 2023 mission.

The statement did not even mention how much the country had paid for the prize-winning seat on Elon Musk’s SpaceX-built rocket. The Axiom ticket for the wealthy citizens who went to the International Space Station earlier this month was priced at $ 55 million each (about Rs 420 crore) for a rocket ride and accommodation.

Friday’s announcement is part of the UAE’s space program. Last year, the UAE placed its Amal or Hope satellite in orbit around Mars, the first of its kind in the Arab world. The country hopes to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024.

The UAE has also set an ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars by 2117.

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