The UAE has announced two new astronauts, one of them, the first Arab female astronaut, Noura Al-Matrooshi.
The country now has four astronauts going for training with NASA.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted the announcement.
“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,” Al-Maktoum tweeted.
Al-Maktoum, who also serves as the UAE vice president, identified Al-Matrooshi’s male counterpart as Mohammed Al-Mulla.
Al-Matrooshi, 28, works as an engineer at the Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Co., according to the announcement.
Al Matrooshi, born in 1993, holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from United Arab Emirates University. She is also the vice president of the Youth Council for three consecutive years at the company.
She is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
She has a proven record of volunteer work and excellence in the scientific field and she ranked first in the UAE for the 2011 International Mathematical Olympiad.
Her passion in space began at a young age, as she enjoyed going to stargazing events. She lives by the motto of ‘Do what makes you happy.’
Al-Mulla, 33, serves as a pilot with Dubai police and heads their training division, the government said.
The two are set to head to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for training.
UAE space sector recorded investments of more than AED22 billion over the past few years.
The UAE had unveiled an ambitious space program that included building a human settlement on Mars by the year 2117.
In 2019, Hazzaa Al-Mansoori became the UAE’s first astronaut. He spent a week on the International Space Station.
In February, the UAE became the first Arab country to launch a successful interplanetary mission with the “Hope” space probe entering Mars’ orbit.
The mission launched from Japan in July.