MBRSC announces commencement of new phase of 2nd analog study with Emirati crew member – UAE

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· Shareef AlRomaithi entered the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) habitat at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in the USA at 2 AM (UAE time) on Saturday
· AlRomaithi was joined by Jason Lee, Stephanie Navarro, and Piyumi Wijesekara, to participate in phase two of the analog study, lasting 45 days
· The mission aims to study in-depth the effect of space flight simulated on Earth to support future long-duration space endeavours

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) today announced the commencement of phase two of the second analog study under the UAE Analog Programme, with Emirati crew member Shareef AlRomaithi entering the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) habitat at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA at 2 AM (UAE time) on Saturday.

AlRomaithi was joined by his fellow primary crew members Jason Lee, Stephanie Navarro, and Piyumi Wijesekara, as they embarked on the 45-day mission within the HERA facility. The alternate crew members for this mission are Jose Baca and Brandon Kent. The unique three-story habitat simulates space-like conditions on Earth, designed to study how crew members adapt to isolation, confinement, and remote conditions similar to those they would face on long-duration space missions.

Throughout their simulated journey in HERA, the team will engage in scientific research and operational tasks. This mission on Earth includes a virtual reality “walk” on Mars’s surface and managing increasing communication delays with Mission Control Center as they simulate nearing Mars. The crew is scheduled to leave the facility on June 24.

H.E. Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC said, “The UAE Analog Programme is a cornerstone of our vision to integrate advanced scientific research with our strategic objectives, positioning the UAE as a leader in space technology both regionally and internationally.

Through these detailed Earth-based simulations in collaboration with our partners at NASA, we are meticulously preparing our cadres for the vast challenges of deep space exploration, establishing the UAE and the broader Arab world as pivotal players in the international space community and inspiring generations to expand the horizons of human potential.”

The second analog study under the UAE Analog Programme is part of a comprehensive four-phase analog study, consisting of 18 human health studies on Earth. These studies are aimed at understanding the physiological, behavioural, and psychological responses of crew members under conditions similar to those expected on future lunar and Martian exploration missions. The UAE also plays a pivotal role in these ground-breaking research initiatives, with scientific experiments being provided by the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), and American University of Sharjah (AUS), across all four phases of the analog study.

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