Amounting to a historic development in UAE, Nora al-Matrooshi is set to train to become the first Arab woman astronaut in the country’s record. The news emerged when Nora was chosen amongst two Emiratis who were keen to train in a pool of thousands of other applicants who wanted this fellowship as an international partner astronaut with NASA.
The 28-year-old mechanical engineer from Sharjah- one of the seven emirates that incorporate the United Arab Emirates, will train along with the NASA Astronaut Group 23, wherein astronauts to the function of international space mission specialisation. Upon the conclusion of her qualifications at her alma mater in Finland, the driven engineer even studied Korean in Seoul. Currently, working as a piping engineer at UAE’s National Petroleum Construction Company, she was recruited by Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) under a traineeship programme that aims to the stars.
We announce the first Arab female astronaut, among two new astronauts, selected from over 4,000 candidates to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions. Congratulations Noura Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla. pic.twitter.com/bfyquyzqAJ
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) April 10, 2021
On April 10, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE announced to his Twitter community the two winners who have been inducted in the next Arab space mission. This selection was a result of a strict seven-step process among 4305 applicants.
According to inputs, upon conclusion of her two-year-long traineeship, she will be made available for future missions to the International Space Station aboard NASA or commercial crew vehicles to the Moon and Mars via Artemis program. Matrooshi along with Mohammad al-Mulla will head to the United States to train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center later this year.
Continuing the tradition of exploration that was started by her sailor ancestors, Nora al-Matrooshi said during a press briefing, “If I can do it, then so can you. If no one has done it before you, then just go ahead and be the first. My mum’s side of the family are sailors. I’d say they explored the ocean. The term astronaut means star sailor in Greek,”
As of today, only 65 women across the globe have been in space and Matrooshi has embarked on her journey to becoming the 66th. While UAE is a newbie to the celestial world and exploration it has already made a mark quite evidently. In 2020, the UAE had announced to launch an unmanned rover to the Moon by 2024 marking the first trip to Earth’s satellite from an Arab nation.
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