Arab female astronaut pride of region - GulfToday

Arab female astronaut pride of region


Nora Al Matrooshi.

The spirit of the Arab woman is unputdownable. There is no end to her gusto, bravado and enterprising skills. She does not fear to tread where few women have ventured before. She encapsulates womanhood in its entirety, juggling professional and domestic tasks with remarkable grace and ease.

There is no domain or field where she has not left her mark, be it in medicine, hospitality, industry, the arts, education or the media.

Even outer space is a breeze, thanks to the overwhelming backing that the Emirati woman in particular gets from the leadership.

Which is why Nora AlMatrooshi is a scintillating model. She is the first Emirati, and Arab, astronaut who will be scaling the frontiers of outer space soon.

Nora’s credentials are quite impressive. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the UAE University in 2015 and has years of experience in the field of engineering. She excelled in the fields of engineering and mathematics during her academic years, coming first in the UAE for the 2011 International Mathematical Olympiad and representing the UAE in the Youth Conference at the United Nations in the summer of 2018 and winter of 2019. She, along with Mohammed AlMulla, was selected from over 4,000 applicants, which speaks volumes for her talent.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced her name for the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme. The new batch of astronauts will continue the scientific march that the UAE launched years ago with the aim of strengthening the space sector and developing a national team of astronauts capable of realising the country’s aspirations in scientific exploration and participating in manned space exploration.

Sheikh Mohammed said: “Today we announce two new Emirati astronauts, among them the first female Arab astronaut Nora AlMatrooshi and Mohammed AlMulla. They were selected from more than 4,000 applicants and their training will soon begin for international space flights. We congratulate the country on them. We congratulate them and count on them to raise the name of the UAE ever higher in space.”

The UAE, which has always been a pioneer across different fields, has once again proven its resolve to work diligently for both its young men and women. Emirati women are more confident of their abilities, as ascertained by female candidates making up 33% of the applicants for the programme.

Nora joins the elite ranks of Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi who were the astronauts selected in the first batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme. Al Mansoori embarked on a pathbreaking eight-day mission to the International Space Station, which took place from 25 September to 3 October in 2019, and saw 30 scientific experiments being conducted.

Nora has a challenging assignment in front of her. Along with Al Mulla, she will be trained in human spaceflight, research and space flight control, and will also be trained to carry out missions in low orbit.

The two astronauts will be trained to manage various missions on the International Space Station, including simulated spacewalks and long duration stay, along with training in major systems, robotics, extravehicular activity, T-38 jet courses, water and land survival, Russian language skills and theoretical training.

It is very relevant that Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, has called for the establishment of a UAE Ministry for Women.

All this goes to show that the UAE is at the forefront of women’s empowerment in the Arab world. And that is an enviable record. Because shattering the glass ceiling at international levels is second nature to the Emirati woman.

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