« Back to NEWS

Latest News

15 Aug 2023

Emirati Astronauts Dive into Spacewalk Prep at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab

In the journey to conquer extraterrestrial frontiers, UAE astronauts Nora AlMatrooshi and another astronaut are making strides in their rigorous preparation regime at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), nestled within the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This training is a pivotal part of NASA's 2021 astronaut candidate class, designed to ready them for the challenges of space missions.

After enduring a series of intensive exercises, including survival training in Alabama and an immersive orientation at the Marshall Space Flight Center, the astronauts have embarked on crucial spacewalk training. The NBL, recognized as the globe's largest indoor pool for spacewalk simulations, is where they're mastering the complexities essential for future space exploration endeavors.

The core objective of their training in the NBL’s expensive facility—stretching over 202 feet in length, 102 feet in width, and 40 feet deep—is to replicate the weightlessness of space, a condition known as neutral buoyancy. Here, astronauts practice handling large objects in an environment that closely mimics microgravity, offering the most realistic earthbound training for spacewalks.

Spacewalk proficiency is essential not just for ongoing space missions but also for the advancements in space exploration yet to come. Notably, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, part of the longest Arab space mission aboard the ISS, marked a historic milestone as the first Arab astronaut to conduct a spacewalk, after extensive preparation at the NBL.

AlMatrooshi and their colleague, selected for the second UAE Astronaut Programme cohort alongside other NASA candidates, epitomize the UAE's bold aspirations in the realm of space exploration. With their graduation anticipated in early 2024, they are on course to become part of an elite group of astronauts eligible for future space missions.

The UAE Astronaut Programme, spearheaded by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and supported by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), underscores the UAE's commitment to fostering innovation and integrating with the global scientific community. This initiative not only propels the nation forward in the space exploration field but also inspires a new generation of Emirati scientists and engineers.

Source: NASA.GOV

Book a Stand