By Jessie Tu
At just 28, Noura Al Matrooshi has been announced as the first ever female astronaut from United Arab Emirates, fulfilling her childhood dream for space exploration.
Abu-Dhabi based engineer, Al Matrooshi will train with Mohammed al-Mulla, 32, a pilot with the Dubai police. The chosen astronauts were announced on Twitter by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai who is also the country’s prime minister and vice president.
The pair were selected from 4,000 candidates in the UAE, and will undergo training at NASA‘s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Al Matrooshi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the university of UAE and has since been a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
If al-Matroushi is selected for a mission in the future, she would become the first Arab woman in space.
In 2006, Anousheh Raissyan, a Texas-based Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur became the first Muslim woman and first Iranian in space when she traveled as a self-funded civilian to the International Space Station, reportedly paying roughly $20 million for the privilege.
Hazzaa al-Mansoori became the UAE’s first astronaut in space only two years ago, spending eight-days aboard the International Space Station.
The UAE have reported plans to build a human colony on Mars by 2117, and hope to put an unmanned spacecraft on the moon within the next three years.