UAE names world's first female Arab astronaut

The UAE has named its first female Arab astronaut as it confirmed the second batch of the country’s astronaut programme today.


Left: The four asytronaut team from the UAE that will train with NASA (IMAGE: MBRSC)













Making the official announcement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai said: " Today we announce two new Emirati astronauts, among them the first female Arab astronaut - Nora AlMatrooshi and Mohammed AMulla. They were selected from more than 4,000 applicants and their training will soon begin for international space flights. We congratulate the country on them. We congratulate them and count on them to raise the name of the UAE ever higher in space.”
The two new astronauts join astronauts Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi to form a team of four under the programme

Nora Al Matrooshi,(pictured right) who obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the UAE University in 2015 and has years of experience in the field of engineering. AlMatrooshi excelled in the fields of engineering and mathematics during her academic years, placing first in the UAE for the 2011 International Mathematical Olympiad and representing the UAE in the Youth Conference at the United Nations in the summer of 2018 and winter of 2019. 
The other astronaut in the second batch is Mohammed Al Mulla, who at the age of 19 obtained a commercial pilot’s license from the Australian Civil Aviation Authority to become the youngest pilot in Dubai Police. He then set another record, becoming the youngest trainer in the same organisation at 28 years, after getting his pilot trainer license from GCAA. While pursuing his career he obtained a bachelor’s degree in law and economics in 2015 and an Executive Master of Public Administration from the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in 2021.
He is is currently the head of training department of the Air Wing Centre at Dubai Police. He has received a bravery medal from Sheikh Mohammed min addition to the Dubai Police global excellence award.
The MBRSC said today that the future missions for Emirati Astronauts will provide the scientific and global community with new scientific knowledge and will support the advancement of the space industry in the Arab world and contribute to making a better future for humanity.
The selection of the Arab world’s first female astronaut will not come as a surprise to those who have followed the progress of the space industry in the UAE.
Salem Al Marri, assistant director general for scientific and technical affairs and head of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, said:
“The UAE, which has always been a pioneer across different fields, has once again proven its resolve to work diligently for both its young men and women. Emirati women are more confident of their abilities and limitless capabilities, as ascertained by female candidates making up 33% of the applicants for the programme.
“The majority of the applicants also ranged between the ages of 24-36 years old, which reflects the ambition of Emirati youth and their love for making the impossible possible.”
As part of a joint strategic agreement between the UAE and the USA the astronauts will train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. They will be trained in human spaceflight, 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-story 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.=