ABU DHABI — From 4,000 candidates, the United Arab Emirates picks its two new astronauts—the first woman and a man—to participate in its ambitious space program right after the country reached for the moon in February.
The country is sending its first woman to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions amid allegations against Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s treatment of his daughter Latifa and the crisis surrounding the country’s gender equality program.
Al-Maktoum says on Twitter they were “selected from over 4,000 candidates to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions.”
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
Noura Al-Matroushi, 28, is an engineer at the Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Co. while Mohammed Al-Mulla, 33, serves as a pilot with the Dubai police and heads their training division, says the government. They will head to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for training.
Hazzaa Al-Mansoori in 2019 became UAE’s first astronaut who spent a week on the International Space Station. Part of the UAE’s space mission is building an ambitious human settlement on Mars by the year 2117.
The UAE became the first Arab country to launch a successful interplanetary mission in February its “Hope” space probe orbiting Mars. It will study Mars in orbit, gathering information on the planet’s atmosphere, its changing seasons, and capturing images. The data will be shared with the international scientific community.
The science team behind the Mars mission is composed mostly of women, 80 percent of them, according to the Emirati Ministry of State for Advanced Sciences.
The success of the mission makes the UAE the 5th country in the world to reach Mars. (JSM/JuanManila)
Photo: “Hope” probe in orbit photo by UAE Space Agency