The first Arab woman, an Emirati national, Nora al-Matrooshi, has been selected to train as an astronaut by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The development comes in after the middle eastern country rapidly expands into the space sector to broaden its economy.
Nora al-Matrooshi is a 27-year-old mechanical engineering graduate. She is currently working at Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company and plans to join NASA’s 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class in the United States.
Four people under the UAE Astronaut Programme will travel to space, and another Emirati will join Matrooshi. These people include Hazza al-Mansouri, who in 2019 became the first Emirati in space when he flew to the International Space Station.
Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said in a statement that 4,300 applicants were assessed on scientific abilities, education and practical experience. Then on physical, psychological and medical assessments.
Matrooshi was the only woman selected, which makes her a first.
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Recent Developments in the Region
UAE is working on its space program to strengthen its scientific and technological capabilities to stop being dependent on oil or at least lessen it. A few months back, the Arab world achieved its first interplanetary expedition after the UAE probe reached the planet Mars’s orbit. By 2024, the country is also planning to launch a moon rover and vision for a Mars settlement by 2117.
In 2017, a national space programme was developed for local expertise. However, out of 9.4 million of its population is foreign workers. The programme lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big space-faring nations.
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