A woman has made history in the United Arab Emirates as the country’s first female astronaut.
Noura Al-Matrooshi is one of two new astronauts in the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) Space Centre astronaut program, UAE vice president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Twitter.
She was chosen with Mohammed Al-Mulla, two of over 4,000 candidates who applied to the program, Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, said.
“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,” Al-Matrooshi tweeted. “I thank our wise leadership and the team of the UAE Astronaut Programme. Preparations and work begin now.”
The astronaut was born in 1993 and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United Arab Emirates University, the MBR Space Centre said in a video.
She is an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company.
“Her passion in space began at a young age, as she enjoyed going to stargazing events,” the video said. “She lives by the motto of ‘Do what makes you happy.’”
Al-Mulla, born in 1988, is a commercial pilot and works as a pilot for Dubai Police, where he is also the head of their training division, according to the space center.
The two will train with NASA for future space exploration, Sheikh Mohammed said.