A University of Brighton graduate has been selected as an astronaut for scientific missions in space.
Sultan Saif Muftah Hamad Al Niyadi, who graduated in electronics and communication, is one of the first two astronauts chosen by the United Arab Emirates in co-operation with the Russian space agency.
They were selected from 4,000 men and women who were tested for the UAE Astronaut Programme. One will fly into space next April as the first Emirati astronaut on a 10-day mission as part of the Russian space mission to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft. The second will serve as a replacement.
Professor Debra Humphris, University of Brighton Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is a wonderful achievement by Sultan Saif Muftah Hamad Al Niyadi and we are so proud of our graduate and will be watching his endeavours as an astronaut with great interest.
“This is a rare achievement and one that reflect a huge amount of dedication and hard work. On behalf of the community of the University of Brighton I offer our congratulations and wish him and the United Arab Emirates the best of luck for the flights into space.”
Sultan was awarded a BEng(Hons) Electronics with Communications degree in 2004.
Sam Davies, the university’s Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, said: “We take great pride in the achievements of all of our graduates in their professional lives after they leave us and how they translate their academic knowledge to contribute to so many important issues. We very much congratulate Sultan on his selection.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the astronauts Sultan and Hazza Ali Abdan Al Mansouri: “Hazza and Sultan represent a new stage for the UAE youth and raise the aspirations of new generations after them. Our dreams embrace space … and we are proud of our youth, and our future is based on a solid scientific foundation.
“We have the only Mars probe programme in the region; our satellite industry has realised its full potential; we have UAE astronauts; we have a space industry worth AED20 billion, and we have aspirations without limits… when given the opportunity, Arabs can reach for the stars.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: “As space has no limits, there are also no limits to our ambitions to accomplish greater achievements for our country.”
The two astronauts completed six phases of medical, psychological and advanced tests and a series of interviews, in cooperation with NASA, as well as advanced medical tests by the Russian space agency.
Thirty-seven year old Sultan has a PhD in Data Leakage Prevention Technology from Griffith University in Australia that he had obtained in 2016, as well as a Master’s degree in Information and Networks Security from the same university.