Who is Nora Al-Matrooshi? – UAE’s first Arab woman astronaut

The United Arab Emirates is aiming to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil with the help of its space program.

The United Arab Emirates selected the first Arab woman to train as an astronaut, as the nation aims at rapidly expanding in the space sector to diversify its economy.

The recent Reuters report suggests, Emirati national Nora Al-Matrooshi – a 27-year-old mechanical engineering graduate currently working at Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company, will join NASA’s 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class in the United States.

The Gulf country is aiming to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil with the help of its space program.

In February, a UAE probe reached the orbit of the planet Mars, the Arab world’s first interplanetary expedition. The nation plans to launch a moon rover by 2024 and even a vision for a Mars settlement by 2117, reported Reuters.

Nora Al-Matrooshi is one of two new astronauts in the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) Space Centre astronaut program, and she will be joined by another Emirati, Mohammed al-Mulla, making a total of four people under the UAE Astronaut Program.

They include Hazza al-Mansouri who became the first Emirati in space in 2019 when he flew to the International Space Station.

Nora Al-Matrooshi is reported to be one of the 4,300 applicants assessed on scientific abilities, education and practical experience, and then on physical, psychological and medical assessments, Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said as reported by the news agency Reuters.

“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.”

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