UAE youths lift off to NASA today

It’s countdown time — 3...2...1 — and it’s straight to NASA for three UAE nationals who will be the first non-US citizens to be part of their student internship programme.

Shamma Al Qassim, 19, Hazza Bani Malek, 20 and Hamad Rajab, 21 were selected for the education initiative run by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) gaining the opportunity to work with top scientists on projects including the space shuttle and international space station, deep space missions, exploring the solar system and aircraft research.

They are the first of the 12 UAE nationals who will be engaging in the programme as part of an agreement between the not-for-profit Arab Youth Venture Foundation (AYVF) and NASA.

The students who are being sponsored by Mubadala DevelopmenCompany are flying out today to start their 10-week training at the Ames Research Centre in California. Khaleej Times was exclusively invited to meet the students at their send-off, Wednesday night.

According to Dr Peter Worden, head of NASA Ames Research Centre space exploration is platform to create an alliance of great nations and pursue common dreams.

“Under this programme, the goodwill generated by students working side by side (with NASA scientists and researchers) will serve as a bridge between the USA and UAE, opening the doors for future collaboration in scientific research. I can only imagine what discoveries might be achieved through such cooperation,” Dr Peter Worden.

Qassim, a computer engineering major at the American University of Sharjah will intern with the team responsible for analysis and modelling of multispectral satellite date for earthquake prediction.

Malek who is pursuing a major in mechatronics at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Ras Al Khaimah will join the optical spectroscopy data analysis of the radiative environment for planetary entry group.

UAE University student Rajab who is completing his electrical engineering will intern with experts involved in the Sustainability of Base Water Recycling Systems for both the NASA Green Building and Testing on the new NASA Spacecraft Recycling System.

The young nationals that passed a stringent application process will help advance the aerospace ambitions of the UAE said Jassem Al Zaabi, Executive Director of Mubadala Information and Communications Technology.

“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.” 

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