Published: 11th April 2021
What the FAQ: Who is Noura al-Matroushi, UAE's first female astronaut?
If Noura ends up going on a manned space mission, she can possibly become the first Arab woman in space
Dubai's ruler and prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Twitter the names of two new astronauts selected for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) upcoming space missions. One of them is Noura al-Matroushi, UAE's first female astronaut. Noura and Mohammed Al Mulla, the other selected astronaut, were chosen from 4,000 applicants from the UAE.
Here's all you need to know about Noura al-Matroushi, who can possibly become the first Arab woman in space.
Who is Noura al-Matroushi?
Born in 1993, Noura is an avid space enthusiast, who participated in several stargazing competitions during her childhood. After pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of UAE, Noura became a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has been a member since. She is currently working as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company. For almost five years, she was also the vice president of the youth council of the company.
Where will she train?
Noura and her male counterpart Mohammed Al Mulla will train at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Which space programmes have the UAE previously been part of?
While UAE doesn't have any manned missions planned in the near future, it does plan to send an unmanned space mission to the moon in 2024. This year, UAE also managed to successfully launch the Amal satellite, which will orbit Mars. And it was only in 2019 that the first-ever UAE astronaut was sent to space when Hazzaa al-Mansoori spent eight days aboard the International Space Station.
Who is the first Muslim woman in space?
While Noura can possibly be the first Arab woman, she won't be the first Muslim woman in space. Dallas millionaire and Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur Anousheh Raissyan was the first Iranian and Muslim woman in space when in 2006 she reportedly paid $20 million to travel to the International Space Station as a self-funded tourist.