Emirati astronauts Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammad Al Mulla undergo rigorous training for space flight - GulfToday

Emirati astronauts Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammad Al Mulla undergo rigorous training for space flight

Nora Al Matrooshi roughs it out in a forest as part of the training regimen.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

As part of NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class training programme, Emirati astronauts Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammad Al Mulla recently completed a series of rigorous training exercises in the USA. A video showing highlights of their training regimen was shared by NASA, documenting the duo's resilience as they undertook various challenges, from survival training at Alabama's Fort Novosel to mastering the art of suiting up at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.
Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla, who are part of the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme, were selected in the 2021 class of astronaut candidates alongside 10 of their NASA classmates. The 10 candidates were carefully selected from a pool of over 12,000 applicants from across the USA for the NASA astronaut corps and are currently undergoing candidacy programme training at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston. They are set to graduate in early 2024 as flight-eligible astronauts.
The Emirati astronauts had also recently visited the Marshall Space Flight Centre. During the visit, they had the opportunity to meet with the Centre’s leadership and learn more about the missions, programmes, and projects at Marshall. They also went to the V20 Thermal Vacuum Chamber, which is currently being used to simulate lunar environments and plume surface interaction for landing scenario planning for the Moon.
 Mohammad Al Mulla (centre) prepares for an exercise in the rugged mountains of America.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage. MBRSC is an advanced scientific and technological hub, responsible for making the UAE a world leader in space services and exploration.

 Mohammad Al Mulla kitted out in an astronaut's suit at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre.

Established in 2006, the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) started out with five engineers, who took it upon themselves to develop their capabilities and expand their knowledge in the field of space, relying on strong will and solid determination. Since then, the centre has continued its journey to be the incubator of the “UAE National Space Programme”. The MBRSC has undertaken the tasks of building, developing, and operating a number of Earth observation satellites, providing imaging services, analysing and studying them, as well as producing relevant data to scientific communities and research centres around the world.
Among the satellites that the centre operates are DubaiSat-1 & DubaiSat-2. The MBRSC is also responsible for KhalifaSat, celebrated as the first satellite that was fully built by Emiratis in 2018. Recently, the centre revealed its plan to develop the new satellite MBZ-SAT, which is expected to be launched at the end of 2023 and to be the latest in the field of high-resolution imaging from outer space. 

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