Three UAE students departed yesterday to the United States to begin their internships with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the renowned US space agency. This marks the first time NASA’s two - 10 month training program has been offered to non-US citizens.
The three Emiratis taking part in this program are Shamma Al Qassim, 19, Hazza Bani Malek, 20, and Hamad Rajab, 21 and are the first of 12 UAE students taking part in the program this year. Their participation has been made possible under NASA's agreement with the Arab Youth Venture Foundation (AYVF), a UAE-based non-profit organisation that aims to inspire Arab youth to engage with science and technology, and Mubadala Development Company, who will be sponsoring the students.
Dr. Pete Worden, Head of NASA Ames Research Center believes “Space exploration offers the perfect venue to create an alliance of great nations and to bind us together in the pursuit of common dreams. Under this program, the goodwill generated by students working side by side with NASA scientists and researchers will serve as a bridge between USA and UAE, opening the doors for future collaboration in scientific research. I can only imagine what discoveries might be achieved through such cooperation.”
During their training at NASA’s facilities in the US, the UAE students will work alongside top NASA scientists on various missions including the space shuttle and international space station, deep space missions, exploring the solar system and aircraft research. They will be joined by students from leading American Universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and Berkley.
Homaid Al Shemmari, Executive Director of Mubadala Aerospace, said: “As part of our drive to diversify Abu Dhabi’s economy and establish the capital as the region’s aerospace hub, we need to ensure that we develop our national talent. Our long-term sustainability is strongly linked to our ability to create a work force capable of becoming world leaders in the aerospace industry. This is a truly inspiring opportunity for these young students.”
Jassem Al Zaabi, Executive Director of Mubadala Information & Communications Technology, added: “The skills, drive and ambition that these young individuals have demonstrated is exactly what we need in order to realise the opportunities available to us in the information and communications technology sector. As Yahsat is about to launch the UAE’s first satellite, the skills these students will acquire during their training will be of definitive value to the nation.”
The students have been selected based on criteria that included academic qualifications, research interests, career goals, interviews with NASA as well as their passion for the aerospace industry.