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READY FOR LIFT-OFF! Russia 'ready to send first Bahraini astronaut to space'.

RUSSIA is ready to send the first Bahraini astronaut to space on a joint trip as soon as next year, it has emerged.

Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, said the astronaut will be chosen from a group of Bahrainis who will be trained at the Russian Space Research Institute in Moscow.

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This was confirmed yesterday by Roscosmos vice-president Sergey Savilev in a statement issued to state-run Bahrain News Agency following a meeting with Bahrain's Ambassador to Moscow Ahmed Al Saati.

It comes as Bahrain is forming its first space team under the Bahrain National Space Science Agency (BNSSA). The GDN reported last week that more than 1,500 people have already applied to join the team, with registration closing on Sunday.

The programme has been designed to attract Bahrain's best specialists in several scientific fields and 10 selected candidates will undergo a two-year training programme in Bahrain and abroad.

"Russia is ready to send the first Bahraini astronaut to the International Space Station in a joint trip with Russian astronauts next year," said Mr Savilev in the statement.

"This will follow an intensive training programme for a number of Bahraini candidates at the Russian Space Research Institute in Moscow, which will help them qualify for the trip.

"Meanwhile we have also invited Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed and BNSSA executive chairman Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Al Aseeri to Moscow along with a number of Bahraini officials to attend the launch of the Russian rocket, which will carry a group of astronauts into space in October."

Mr Al Saati told the GDN yesterday that Roscosmos, Russia's state corporation responsible for its space flight and cosmonautics programme, was also planning to open a regional office in Bahrain.

"Roscosmos is also planning to open a regional office in Bahrain to promote their services in the Middle East," he said.

"The services include applications for oil and water exploration, security, monitoring pollution, organising road traffic, aviation control etc."

Meanwhile, in the statement issued yesterday Mr Savilev confirmed Russia's participation in the upcoming Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS) 2018, which will open on November 14 at the Sakhir Airbase to showcase the latest civil and military jets as well as unmanned aerial vehicles.

He added that Roscosmos, Russia's state corporation responsible for its space flight and cosmonautics programme, was prepared to sign an agreement on future co-operation with the BNSSA.

"Russia will take part in the BIAS 2018 in November where it will present the country's military and civilian aircraft and facilities," he said.

"My country has also expressed its willingness to sign a Memorandum of Understanding of co-operation with the BNSSA on the sidelines of the airshow."

Co-operation on space science was among the key agreements signed during His Majesty King Hamad's visit to Moscow in 2016 on the sidelines of his official talks with President Vladimir Putin.

raji@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jul 25, 2018
Words:499
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