DUBAI, June 6 (Xinhua) -- A total of 95 applicants, including 75 men and 20 women, have been shortlisted for the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) Astronaut Program, UAE's state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.
The UAE's Astronaut Program, which is part of the UAE's National Space Program, aims to train and prepare a team to be sent to space for "various scientific missions," according to WAM.
The shortlisted applicants, aged between 23 and 48 years old, came from across the Gulf state. The list includes 64 candidates under the age of 35 and 31 candidates over 35 years old.
They came from different educational and vocational backgrounds including civil aviation, air force and medicine, among others.
The 95 finalists will undergo an intensive training program, consisting of several stages based on the highest international standards. The final phase will conclude in 2018 with the selection of the top four candidates and two reserves who would pass all the previous stages.
"With this motivating spirit, we move forward together to achieving the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071, confident that the UAE's astronauts will be our ambassadors for a bright future at times of the Fourth Industrial Revolution," said Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.
The first Emirati astronaut will be sent to space in the coming years, and the rest of the team will follow him to international space station ISS, said WAM.
This program was announced by UAE's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces, in April 2017.
It aims to support the government's objective to transform the UAE, a major oil supplier, into a knowledge-based, developed economy.