UAE: 1st Astronaut Going to Space

UAE: 1st Astronaut Going to Space

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The United Arab Emirates has announced the date the first astronaut from the Gulf Arab nation will go into space.

The UAE said on Monday it will send either Hazza al-Mansoori or Sultan al-Neyadi to the International Space Station on Sept. 25 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Organizers had said they'd announce the astronaut who's going but instead gave just the launch date. Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had already announced the astronauts' names last September.

The UAE has a fledgling space program with big ambitions. It launched its first locally made satellite, KhalifaSat, in October from Japan. It wants to launch a probe to Mars in 2020.

The UAE also says it wants to colonize Mars by 2117, with a fully functioning city of 600,000.