On Saturday, the UAE announced that it had named two new Emiratis to be part of its astronaut corps, including the Arab world’s first female astronaut.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced that Nora Al Matrooshi had been selected to be part of the country’s astronaut corps.
“We announce today… two new Emirati astronauts … among them, the first Arab woman astronaut Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
نعلن بحمدالله اليوم عن اثنين من رواد الفضاء الإماراتيين الجدد .. بينهم أول رائدة فضاء عربية .. نورا المطروشي ومحمد الملا … تم اختيارهم من بين أكثر من ٤٠٠٠ متقدم .. وسيبدأ تدريبهم قريباً ضمن برنامج ناسا لرواد الفضاء.. نبارك للوطن بهم .. ونعول عليهم لرفع اسم الامارات في السماء. pic.twitter.com/5frAJQePO5
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) April 10, 2021
“They have been chosen from among more than 4,000 applicants and their training will soon begin with the Nasa astronaut programme. We congratulate the country. We count on them to raise the name of the UAE in the sky.”
The duo is now colleagues of Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati in space, and reserve astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.
They were chosen from 4,305 Emiratis who applied – including 1,400 female applicants.
Progress is being made by different space agencies to create gender equality in the space sector, which has been male-dominated since the early days of space exploration in the 1960s.
As of 2020, of more than 550 astronauts who had gone to space, only 65 were women.
The selection of the two new astronauts echoes the UAE’s focus on equal opportunities for women.