In a landmark announcement for the African region, Tunisia has announced interstellar ambitions to send its first woman astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2024. Tunisia will follow UAE’s major missions underway. The selected Tunisian astronaut will follow Nora al-Matrooshi, the first Arab woman training to be an astronaut, one of two Emiratis picked from thousands of applicants.
The Tunisian candidate will be selected from a roster of eight fighter pilot graduates from the Borj El-Amri Aviation school.
The space mission to ISS is part of an MoU between former Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin and Ambassador to Russia, Tarak Ben Salem, in August 2021, as per which Russia will train the selected astronaut in its training facilities for spaceflights to the space station.
Currently, the roster of candidates is focused on completing their medical examination, after which six will be sent to Russia. In the final stages of the qualification process, Roscosmos will select two candidates, one of which will be part of the ISS crew, whereas the other would serve as a backup member.
The candidate chosen to complete the mission will be proficient in physics and medicine. “The mission will last ten days,” Mohamed Frikha, the director general of Telnet, the Tunisian company of telecommunication, said in a statement, “and the nominees are the pride of Tunisian women, who they are representing in the best possible way.” Their candidacy is “a testament to their courage and will to honor their country,” he said.
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