Meet first Arab female astronaut from UAE

Estimated read time 8 min read

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Consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis.” byline=”Expat Media” caption=”Nora Al Matrooshi is the UAE’s first female astronaut.” credits=”MBRSC”]

Meet first Arab female astronaut from UAE Noora Al Matrooshi

 

DUBAI – The Arab world’s first female astronaut was named on Saturday (April 10) as the Dubai ruler announced Nora Al Matrooshi as the UAE’s next astronaut.

Al Matrooshi, 28, will join Mohammed Al Mulla as the UAE’s two new astronauts, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Watch her life story in this video:

Al Matrooshi is a graduate of the second batch of the Emirates Astronauts Programme for future manned space flights. She was chosen from more than 4,000 applicants and will begin training with Nasa astronaut’s programme.

Born in 1993, Al Matrooshi had a passion for space and astronomy from a very early age. She enjoyed going to stargazing events.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from United Arab Emirates University and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

She is also a numbers whiz, ranking first in the UAE’s 2011 Math Olympiad.

She is an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company and was also the vice president of the company’s youth council for three years.

She has a long record of volunteering work and distinction in the field of science.

Al Matrooshi lives her life by the motto “Do what makes you happy”.

 

Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla join the UAE’s growing astronaut team, which already includes Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi.

“We congratulate our country on this occasion,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “We count on them to raise the name of the UAE in the sky.”

“I promise you that long queues of Emirati women and men will walk on your path,” Sheikh Mohammed promised.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said, “Today, you represent every Emirati male and female… Today, in brief, you represent all the UAE nation.”

New UAE astronaut training

The new astronaut duo will begin their training at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas by the end of this year. They will be supported by Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi in a longer training programme.

The two new astronauts will be trained in human space flight, research and space flight control, and will also be trained to carry out missions in low orbit, using the Human Exploration Research Analog, a unique three-storey habitat designed to serve as an analog for isolation, confinement, and remote conditions in exploration scenarios.

Under the training programme, the astronauts will be trained to manage various missions on the International Space Station, including simulated spacewalks and long duration stay, along with training in major systems, robotics, extravehicular activity, T-38 jet courses, water and land survival, Russian language skills and theoretical training.

How Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla were picked

A total of 4,305 applicants had applied for the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme. The applicants underwent several phases of evaluation and qualification in accordance with international standards. In the first phase, the list was filtered down to 2099 applicants based on their age, educational background, and scientific research experience.

The applicants then underwent IQ, personality, and technical assessments, through which the best 1,000 candidates were selected. In phase two, after evaluating the top 1,000 candidates, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) evaluation committee selected 122 applicants, who were then interviewed virtually. Based on the interviews, the 122 candidates were further evaluated, bringing the shortlist down to 61 applicants.

For the third phase, the team at MBRSC conducted preliminary and advanced medical examinations on the shortlisted 61 candidates, which brought down the number of candidates to 30, who moved to the final phase. 14 candidates from the 30 were selected after passing the preliminary remote interviews of the final phase of evaluations.

The shortlisted candidates comprised of nine men and five women, with a variety of scientific and academic backgrounds, including 4 working in the aviation sector, nine engineers, and a candidate specialising in metrology.

The final evaluation stage of the 14 candidates was conducted by a committee consisting of specialists from MBRSC, including Emirati astronauts Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi along with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Anne McClain, who narrowed it down to four candidates. The two candidates were then selected from the final four after undergoing rigorous tests for physical fitness, communication skills and teamwork.

UAE Astronaut Programme

The MBRSC opened registrations for the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme in December 2019, for all UAE Nationals who were 18 years old and above, proficient in Arabic and English, and university graduates. The programme is designed to prepare and train Emiratis to travel to space for various scientific missions.

Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi were the astronauts selected in the first batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme. Al Mansoori’s eight-day mission to the International Space Station, which took place from September 25 to October 3, 2020saw 30 scientific experiments being conducted.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage. ICA/Expat Media


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