The UAE has announced Nora al-Matroushi as its first female astronaut

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Mohammed al-Mulla, left, and Noura al-Matroushi, right.

  • The UAE revealed its first female astronaut, who will join the country’s space program.
  • Sheikh Mohammed posted on Twitter on Saturday to announce Nora al-Matroushi’s appointment.
  • At the same time, Mohammed al-Mulla was named as her male counterpart.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced its first female astronaut.

Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, revealed the news on Twitter.

Nora al-Matroushi, 27, was selected alongside Mohammed al-Mulla. The two were chosen from more than 4,000 applicants in the UAE who applied for the program, Sheikh Mohammed said in a tweet.

“We congratulate the country. We count on them to raise the name of the UAE in the sky,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

The pair will work alongside Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut to fly into space, and Sultan Al Neyadi, UAE’s reserve astronaut.

Al-Matroushi also took to Twitter. She wrote: “The nation gave me unforgettable moments today. I aim to work hard to script historical moments and achievements that will be etched forever in the memory of our people.”

The astronaut holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United Arab Emirates University, Mohammed bin Rashin Space Centre shared in a video on Twitter.

She works as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company.

Her love for space began at a young age, “as she enjoyed going to stargazing event,” the video added. The motto she upholds to live life by is: “Do what makes you happy.”

Al-Mulla is a commercial pilot. He works as an aeronaut for Dubai police where he is also the commander of their training division.

The announcement marks the progress being made by several space agencies to advance gender equality in the space industry, which has dominated by men since the 1960s, The National reported.

The pair will commence training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Assuming she takes part in a mission, she could become the first Arab woman in space, according to the UAE government.

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