Emirates pays Space X to send astronaut to the International Space Station

The United Arab Emirates has purchased a seat on a SpaceX spacecraft for an astronaut to complete a six-month stay on the International Space Station, in what will be the oil-rich nation’s first long-term mission.

The seat on the SpaceX Falcon 9 was acquired through a Houston-based private company, Axiom Space, a space tourism operator leading efforts to commercialize the sector, the federation of seven emirates revealed this Friday.

The mission is scheduled to launch next year from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This will be the second time the UAE has sent an astronaut into space, after Major Hazzaa al-Mansoori carried out an eight-day mission aboard the International Space Station in 2019.

The UAE statement did not identify the astronaut selected for the 2023 mission, nor how much the country paid to have a place on the spacecraft built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The price of the Axiom trip for citizens who paid to get to the International Space Station earlier this month was $55 million (about €52 million) per person.

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