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An Overhaul Of Islamic Personal Laws?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has chosen 27-year-old Nora Al-Matrooshi, a Mechanical Engineering Graduate currently working at Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company, to receive training as an astronaut. In a rare first, an Emirati lady will get the opportunity to become an astronaut. Nora will be leaving for the US to attend American Space Agency NASA’s 2021 Astronaut Training Course later in 2021.

The West Asian Nation had planned, earlier, to send a rover-like vehicle to the Moon by 2024, and even set up a base on Mars by 2117! Abu Dhabi made an announcement in this regard after a UAE probe reached the orbit of the planet Mars on February 12, 2021, the Arab world’s first interplanetary expedition! Hazza Al Mansouri became the first astronaut of the UAE as he went to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 25, 2019. In 2021, Al Mansouri’s compatriot Mohammad Al Mulla, too, will receive training at NASA, along with Nora. The 33-year-old Al Mulla is a pilot. Nora will be joined by Al Mansouri and Al Mulla, making a total of four people under the UAE Astronaut Programme. Meanwhile, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – has confirmed that Nora and Al Mulla joined astronauts Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi to form a four-member team under the UAE Astronaut Programme. According to the PM, the four will serve under the Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). The Centre has claimed that its National Space Programme will help the UAE become one of the leading space-exploring nations.

Nora Al Matrooshi

The MBRSC issued a statement a couple of days ago, saying that Nora was selected out of 4,300 applicants on the basis of her excellence in science, practical experience, as well as on the basis of physical and mental strength. Nora has commented on Twitter: “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. I thank our wise leadership and the team of the UAE Astronaut Programme. Preparations and work begin now.

The four astronauts from the UAE will train for at least three years before the selection for a future mission. Nora and Al Mulla will begin training in the UAE, before leaving for NASA’s Johnson Space Centre (JSC) in Houston, Texas later in 2021 to attend the 30-month course. Later, they will join the 2021 NASA Astronaut Candidate Class, a part of a joint strategic agreement between the UAE and the US, before undergoing spacewalk training, language training (especially Russian) and systems training on-board the ISS.

UAE astronauts Mohammed Al Mulla (L) & Nora Al Matrooshi join Hazza Al Mansouri & Sultan Al Neyadi

It may be noted that six decades ago, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (March 9, 1934 – March 27, 1968) – the Soviet Pilot and Cosmonaut – was the first human to journey into outer space, achieving a major milestone in the then Space Race, His capsule, Vostok1, circling the Earth at a speed of 27,400km per hour, completed one orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961, with the total flight lasting for around 108 minutes.

Experts are of the opinion that the UAE is, seemingly, planning to use its Space Programme to develop scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil.

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