UAE Chooses First Arab Woman For Astronaut Training
The United Arab Emirates has chosen the first Arab woman to be trained as an astronaut since the Gulf country is expanding its economy rapidly by developing the space sector.
Nora al-Matrooshi, a 27-year-old Emirati national and mechanical engineering graduate who is currently working at Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company will be part of NASA’s 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class in the United States.
The UAE is utilizing its space program to progress its scientific and technological capabilities and to reduce its dependence on oil at the same time.
In February, a UAE investigation reached the orbit of the planet Mars, the Arab world’s first space trip. The UAE also aims to set up a moon rover by 2024 and even a vision for a Mars settlement by 2117.
Matrooshi will be accompanied by another Emirati, Mohammed al-Mulla, so a total of four people will be part of the UAE Astronaut Program. The program also includes Hazza al-Mansouri, the first Emirati in space in 2019 when he flew to the International Space Station.
According to Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Nora was one of 4,300 candidates evaluated on scientific skills, education, and practical experience. She was also judged on physical, psychological, and medical assessments later.
A National Space Program was initiated by the UAE in 2017 to develop local expertise. Its population of 9.4 million, which is comprised mostly of foreign workers, lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big spaceflight nations.