The United Arab Emirates nominated the next two astronauts to its airspace on Saturday, including the country’s first female astronaut.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the governor of Dubai and also the Prime Minister of the Independent State and Deputy President, has named the astronauts on Twitter.
She identified Noura al-Matroushi as the first female astronaut in the UAE, and her male counterpart as Mohammad al-Mulla.
A recent government advertising video described al-Matroushi, born 1993, as an engineer at Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Co.
Al-Mulla, born in 1988, works as a pilot with Dubai police and leads their training unit, the government said.
The two were nominated by more than 4,000 applicants in the UAE, a coalition of seven kings on the Arabian Peninsula and also the Abu Dhabi House.
The two will be trained at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
If al-Matroushi ends up going to the campaign, she could be the first Arab woman in space, the UAE government has said.
Anousheh Raissyan, an Iranian-American businessman and millionaire from Dallas, became the first Muslim woman and became the first Iranian in space to travel as a fundraiser to the International Space Station in 2006. He reportedly paid $ 20 million to travel there as a guest.
The first Muslim in space was Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, who joined the Shuttle Discovery group in 1985.
In 2019, Maj. Hazzaa al-Mansoori became the first UAE astronaut in space, using an eight-day mission to enter the International Space Station.
Emirates has had some recent success in its space program. In February, the UAE launched its Amal, or Hope, satellite to orbit Mars, the first in the Arab world. By 2024, the country hopes to place an unauthorized spacecraft on the moon.
The UAE also set an ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars in 2117.