Introducing the UAE’s Newest Astronauts

In April 2021, the United Arab Emirates named the next two astronauts selected to join the UAE Astronaut Programme. The announcement was formally made over Twitter by the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Rule of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum:

We announce the first Arab female astronaut, among two new astronauts, selected from over 4,000 candidates to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions. Congratulations Noura Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) introduced the UAE Astronaut Programme in 2017. The program was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, along with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Since its launch, it’s served to achieve the following goals:

Meet the Newest UAE Astronauts
  • Promote the UAE’s vision of a prosperous future based on knowledge and scientific research
  • Contribute in scientific exploration missions by developing the first Emirati astronaut corps
  • Empower young generations to be successful in STEM subjects to promote the culture of research and passion for exploration and innovation
  • Strengthen the UAE’s position internationally in the space sector through contributing to manned space missions

Meet Noura Al Matrooshi

27-year old Noura Al Matrooshi will not only make history as the 66th woman to go to space, but the very first female astronaut from both the UAE and the larger Arab World.
She was born in the emirate of Sharjah in 1993 and has been described as showing a true passion for space exploration from childhood. Over the years she has accomplished a number of notable achievements such as winning first place in the UAE’s 2011 International Mathematical Olympiad and attending the UAE’s 2013 Youth Ambassadors Programme in South Korea.
Al Matrooshi currently works as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Company and is an active member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She previously served as Vice President of the Youth Council and managed several projects under the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. In addition, she had the opportunity to represent the UAE at the UN International Youth Conference in both 2018 and 2019.
“You know when, as a kid, you just really want to do something, and then when you’re all grown up you go do it just for the sake of satisfying that inner child? I guess it’s the same thing. I want to satisfy the inner child who actually wanted to go to space and step on the moon.” – Noura Al Matroosh

Mohammed Al Mulla

Mohammed Al Mulla was born in Dubai in 1988. With more than 1,500 flight hours, he has developed an expansive aviation career over the last 15 years. He initially obtained a commercial pilot’s license and a flight instructors’ license from the Australian Civil Aviation Authority. Today, he works as a Pilot at the Air Wing Center, as well as the Head of the Training Department there.
Before he became an established helicopter pilot, Al Mulla graduated with a bachelor’s degree in law and economics, along with a master’s degree in public administration from the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government.
Outside of joining the Astronaut Programme, his biggest accomplishments include being the youngest pilot in Dubai Police Force at 18 years old and earning the bravery medal from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
“First of all, I’m very proud to be selected in the second batch of the astronaut programme. It meant a lot that they chose me to represent my country in the space sector. The responsibilities are big – in the past two years, the achievements of this country have been huge. It’s my ambition to represent the UAE on future missions, hopefully, to discover the Moon and be part of the first Arab country that goes to the Moon in the future.” – Mohammed Al Mulla

The Future Journey To Outer Space

This past September, the duo visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. During the trip, they joined the UAE’s very first Astronauts, Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi, marking the first time all four Emirati astronauts have come together.
They will soon reunite at the Space Center this December for NASA’s 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class. As part of the intense 30-month long training programme, they will be required to earn their scuba diving license, master the International Space Station (ISS), perform routine spacewalks and fly T-38 jets. Once the program is completed, they will be eligible to take part in future NASA-led missions.
While the pair has a long way to go, both Noura and Mohammed both have set their sights on visiting the Moon. In fact, Al-Matrooshi has personally expressed her desire to help build the very first moon base.

With the UAE’s remarkable progress in the space sector, there’s no doubt the Astronaut Programme’s team will achieve the unthinkable in the upcoming years. Until then, you can keep up with the latest developments at