Saturday, November 27, 2021

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UAE gets first female Arab astronaut

The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the first female astronaut as part of a batch of scientists to participate in its ambitious space programme.

The move comes as the country’s gender equality reputation suffers amid allegations against Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s treatment of his daughter Latifa.

Dubai ruler Mohammed Al-Maktoum, who also serves as the UAE vice president, identified the female astronaut as Noura Al-Matrooshi and her male counterpart as Mohammed Al-Mulla.

Al-Maktoum said on Twitter they were “selected from over 4,000 candidates to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions.”

Al-Matroushi, 28, works as an engineer at the Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Co., according to the announcement.

Al-Mulla, 33, serves as a pilot with Dubai police and heads their training division, the government said.

The two are set to head to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for training.

Women make up 80% of the science team behind the Mars mission, according to the Emirati Ministry of State for Advanced Sciences.

The UAE had unveiled an ambitious space program that included building a human settlement on Mars by the year 2117.

The Gulf country became the 5th in the world to reach Mars after its interplanetary ‘Hope’ mission launched in February.

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