Noura Al-Matrooshi: United Arab Emirates names its first female astronaut

Mohammed al-Mulla, left, and Noura al-Matroushi have joined the United Arab Emirates' space program. Image Source: WAM/AP

Noura Al-Matrooshi made history by becoming the first female astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.

The vice president and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Twitter that Al-Matrooshi was one of two new astronauts in the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) Space Centre astronaut program.

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,” he tweeted.

She was selected, along with the second astronaut Mohammed Al-Mulla, from over 4,000 candidates who applied to the program, Sheikh Mohammed, also the ruler of Dubai, confirmed.

“The nation gave me unforgettable moments today. I aim to work hard to script historical moments and achievements that will be etched forever in the memory of our people,” Al-Matrooshi tweeted. “I thank our wise leadership and the team of the UAE Astronaut Programme. Preparations and work begin now.”

Born in 1993, Al-Matrooshi holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United Arab Emirates University. She is currently working as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company.

The two astronauts are expected to undergo training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The United Arab Emirates has set many ambitious goals with respect to its space program, including constructing a human settlement on Mars by the year 2117. In September 2019, Hazzaa Al-Mansoori became the UAE’s first astronaut. The 35-year-old is a former military pilot launched into space in a Soyuz MS-15 and spent a week on the International Space Station.

Also, in February this year, the UAE became the first Arab nation to successfully launch an interplanetary mission with the “Hope” space probe entering Mars’ orbit.

Noura Al-Matrooshi will certainly inspire a generation of women from all across the world to pursue their passions and shatter the glass ceiling.

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