More than 4,000 candidates applied for the ambitious space program from the government of the United Arab Emirates, but it was Nora AlMatrooshi who became the finalist and the first female astronaut from the Arab region.
For 27-year-old AlMatrooshi, who received a bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, space has been a passion since childhood: "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." Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the country, commented on the event on Twitter: ""We announce the first Arab female astronaut, among two new astronauts . . . to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions."
In February, the UAE became the first Arab country and the fifth country in the world to reach Mars after the Hope Probe spacecraft orbited the Red Planet. In addition, the United Arab Emirates has set ambitious goals to fly to the moon in 2024 and establish settlements on Mars by 2117.