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Nora Al Matrooshi, UAE's astronaut in training.

PHOTO BY EXPO 2020


Q&A with UAE’s first female astronaut trainee Nora Al Matrooshi

 

DUBAI – Nora Al Matrooshi is the UAE and the Arab world’s first female astronaut in training. The mechanical engineer was chosen from more than 4,000 candidates to train for future space missions.

In this Q&A, the 28-year-old Emirati shares her thoughts on her role in the space mission, training, her advice to girls and more.

You have been chosen to be the first Arab female astronaut. How important is this to you, the UAE and all women?

“It is a great responsibility to be chosen as the first Arab female astronaut. The field of space exploration is not limited to a gender or a country: it is open to everyone. After seeing me, I want women in our Arab world to be encouraged to enter this sector.”

Did you want to be an astronaut when you were a child?

“I always dreamt of becoming an astronaut, ever since a teacher transformed the classroom into the surface of the moon, inspiring us with information about the Earth and the planets in our solar system.”

Did Hazza Al Mansouri give you any advice? How did his mission inspire you?

“Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi are from the first batch of Emirati astronauts and, as they have been through the entire experience, we benefit from their experience. They advised strengthening the hand muscles through continuous exercise because we depend on the movement of our hands a lot in space.”

Have you started your training? How are things going so far?

“With my colleague Mohammed Al Mulla, we started training at MBRSC, and we also started learning Russian. We have also received media training and will start flight training soon so we are better prepared when the training with NASA begins.”

What are your hopes for your first assignment?

“My first mission has yet to be decided. I hope my first mission will be to the moon, so I can say I’ve made one footstep on the moon.”

What advice would you give girls who want to work in the space sector?

“My advice is to strive to achieve your goals. The opportunities to achieve them exist, and even if the opportunities do not exist, we can create them.” ICA/Expat Media


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