The Arab World Gets Its First Woman Astronaut, and She’s Emirati

There are two new Emirati astronauts selected for the second round of the Emirates Space Exploration Program.
The Arab World Gets Its First Woman Astronaut, and She’s Emirati

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, announced the selection of two new Emirati astronauts, Mohammed Al Mulla and Nora AlMatrooshi, who would be the first Arab woman astronaut.

AlMatrooshi received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United Arab Emirates University in 2015, and achieved first place in the UAE in the International Mathematics Olympiad in 2011. She’s currently working as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company, and she has practical experience in this field. She is also a member of the American Society of American Engineers. During her tenure, she has made several achievements, including managing engineering projects that have been completed for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). She also held the position of Vice President of the Youth Council for three consecutive years at the National Petroleum Construction Company.

AlMatrooshi was constantly keen to carry out volunteer activities and supervised the implementation of several projects aimed at empowering youth, as she represented the UAE youth at the Youth Conference at the United Nations in the summer of 2018 and winter 2019.

Her passion for space sparked during her childhood, as she enjoyed going to stargazing events, and the lessons related to the space field were her favorite during her school years. This passion developed over time until she dreamed of one day being the first Emirati astronaut.

On the other hand, Mohammed Al Mulla received a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Economics in 2015, then an Executive Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in 2021. At the age of 19, Al Mulla received a commercial aviation license from the Australian Civil Aviation Authority to become the youngest pilot in Dubai Police. At 28, he set a new record and became the youngest trainer in Dubai Police when he received a pilot trainer license from the Australian Civil Aviation Authority.

With a vast experience spanning 15 years, Al Mulla currently holds the position of Head of the Training Department of the Air Wing Center of Dubai Police. During his career, Al Mulla he received the Medal of Courage and Courage from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Commander-in-Chief Award for the best officer in the specialized field, in addition to the Career Excellence Award, and the Excellence Shield for 2019 as the best officer in the specialized field at the level of Dubai Police Headquarters.

The two new astronauts will join the astronauts Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, to form a quadruple team under the umbrella of the Emirates Astronaut Program.

The Emirates Astronaut Program was launched in 2017 as part of the UAE National Space Program with the aim of training and preparing a team of Emirati astronauts and sending them to space to perform various scientific missions. The program is one of the projects of the National Space Program and is funded by the Communications and Information Technology Development Fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

The program aims to establish the infrastructure for the Emirati space sector, qualify Emirati astronauts, and send the first Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station. On the macro level, this program is meant to support the UAE’s vision to build an economy based on knowledge and scientific research, and establish the UAE’s position as a global partner in spaceflight.

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