DUBAI – United Arab Emirates Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler has kicked off country’s first space programmed with a plan to send four UAE national astronauts to the International Space Station in coming five years.

In a statement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashi Al Maktoum said: “On this day, a new chapter in our history begins with the launch of the first UAE Astronaut Programme,  dedicated to training and sending four Emirati Astronauts into space. The people of the UAE will break barriers, there is no power strong enough to stand in the way of those who believe nothing is impossible”.

He further said, ““Our ambitious goals are fueled by dedicated people, who support us until, without hesitation or skepticism, we succeed.”

“I invite young Emiratis to register for the UAE Astronaut Programme through the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. The most competitive applicants will be selected to be ambassadors for the UAE in space exploration. However, every single Emirati will contribute in his or her own way to the future of the UAE, whether it’s on land, or in the skies,” Sheikh Mohammed continued.

The Gulf state has already unveiled a plan to secure the first place in Arab countries by send an unmanned probe named “Hope” to study Mars by 2021.

The first Arab native, who was sent in outer space, was Saudi Arabia’s Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud. He was part of US shuttle mission in 1985.