On July 19, when the spacecraft Al Amal was launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, it not only marked the success of UAE in Space Science, but also initiated the Arab nation’s entrance to space exploration. In fact, UAE created a double history with the mission. First, it announced an Arab nation’s entry into the space science revolution, breaking all conventions.
More than that, it was spearheaded by an Emirati female. The spacecraft to the Mars, built at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre with the help of the American Space Agency was executed by the 33-year-old Sarah al-Amiri, who is also the Minister of State for Advanced Sciences in the UAE Cabinet. It shows the Arab world’s deep interest in the interplanetary mission.
Sarah’s journey from a 12-year-old girl who was curious to see the picture of Andromeda Galaxy, the closest galaxy to the milkyway, to the ministerial role and now the lead of the Mars mission, realised because of her unwavering passion towards space dreams. Her dreams got wings when Sarah, a computer engineer, joined the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology. She became a part of UAE’s first satellite execution there. In 2016, she became a member of the Emirates Science Council. Her interest and skill in space exploration led her to the ministerial role. Sarah says UAE envisions a future where the nation would utilise the possibilities of space business, build the next generation instilling interest in science, and be a part of innovations that take humankind to the space.
UAE announced the Mars mission in 2017. Interestingly, around 80 per cent of space engineers and technicians in Sarah’s team were women. The signature Sarah leaves in the space and technology segment of UAE should be seen as a harbinger of more Arab women who are dreaming of the space.