Space has been her passion since childhood, and now she’s very close to reaching it.
28-year-old mechanical engineer Nora Al Matrooshi is the first Arab woman to train as an astronaut.
She’s from Sharjah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This region has just entered the world of space exploration, but it’s doing it with great momentum.
On April 10, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre posted the future astronaut’s achievement on its official Twitter account.
“Space has been her passion since childhood. Nora Al Matrooshi, the new member of the UAE Astronaut Program.”
Al Matrooshi’s love for space began at a young age, when she enjoyed attending stargazing events and lessons about space at her school. She would always look at the stars and say, “One day I’ll go there.”
Also a member of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, she worked as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company and was selected from among 4,305 candidates, of which 33% were women.
Their selection process included intelligence, personality and technical ability tests, medical tests, and evaluation of their physical condition, teamwork, and communication skills.
Al Matrooshi, who excels in mathematics and engineering, came first place in the UAE at the 2011 International Mathematical Olympiad and will now be the first Arab woman to train as an astronaut.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates at the UN International Youth Conference in both 2018 and 2019 fights every day to put an end to ideas that either she or “Arab women in general” can’t be part of the space race.
“I have to do my best, to work more than 100% and show that I deserve to be in this position.”
According to information released by NASA, as of March 2021, 65 women have flown into space, including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists, and space station participants.
The first woman in space was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who flew on Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963.
Meanwhile, the first American woman in space was Sally Ride, who flew aboard the Space Shuttle STS-7 in June 1983.
Al Matrooshi is on the way to adding her name to the list as the first Arab woman to go into space.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, announced the people who were chosen to prepare for the space race on Twitter.
We announce the first Arab female astronaut, among two new astronauts, selected from over 4,000 candidates to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions. Congratulations Noura Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla. pic.twitter.com/bfyquyzqAJ
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) April 10, 2021
“We announce the first Arab female astronaut, among two new astronauts, selected from over 4,000 candidates to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions. Congratulations Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla.”
Al Matrooshi is excited because she has wanted to be an astronaut for a long time, and she has finally managed to aim for the stars.
“But I also feel a great sense of commitment and responsibility to my country and the Arab world because I’ll be representing them in space,” she said.
In September 2019, the UAE sent its first citizen into space as part of a three-member crew that took off in a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan for an eight-day mission.
Al Matrooshi and her compatriot Mohammad Al Mulla, 33, will travel to the United States this year to train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
The first Arab woman to train as an astronaut and her compatriot will join Sultan Al Neyadi and Hazza Al Mansoori, the first Emirati astronaut to fly into space in September 2020 for an eight-day mission to the International Space Station.
Her training includes everything from learning to speak Russian to taking flight classes. She believes that “it’s not that there is a lack of women from this part of the world, but rather that this part of the world was not interested in space before and now it is.”
The United Arab Emirates created its own space agency in 2014.
In February of this year, its Hope probe successfully entered Mars’ orbit on a journey to reveal the secrets of the Martian climate, making history as the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
In September 2020, Abu Dhabi announced that it planned to launch an unmanned rover to the Moon in 2024, which would mark the first trip to Earth’s satellite by an Arab country. (EFE)