United Arab Emirates announces its first female astronaut, Noura al-Matroushi

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In this undated handout photograph from the United Arab Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency, newly named Emirati astronauts Mohammed al-Mulla, left, and Noura al-Matroushi, right, pose for a photo. The United Arab Emirates named the next two astronauts in its space program Saturday, April 10, 2021, including the country’s first female astronaut. (WAM via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates named the next two astronauts in its space program Saturday, including the country’s first female astronaut.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai who also serves as the autocratically ruled country’s prime minister and vice president, named the two astronauts on Twitter.

He identified Noura al-Matroushi as the UAE’s first female astronaut, with her male counterpart as Mohammed al-Mulla.

A later government promotional video described al-Matroushi, born in 1993, as an engineer at the Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Co.

Al-Mulla, born in 1988, serves as a pilot with Dubai police and heads their training division, the government said.

The two had been selected among more than 4,000 applicants in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula that’s also home to Abu Dhabi.

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