Press Releases

UAE Students Embark on NASA Internships

Three UAE students will today depart 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.

02 June 2010

Three UAE students will today depart 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 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.”

Lisa LaBonte, CEO of AYVF adds, “R&D that has gone into ’Space exploration’ at NASA has resulted in the commercialization of intellectual property (spinoffs) bringing consumers of the world innovations such as laser technology, business jets, environmental monitoring systems, robots for aircraft maintenance, virtual reality, home insulation, night vision cameras and thousands of other popular products and applications. NASA internships have much broader implications than ‘space’ itself.”

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.

Notes to editors:

Shamma Al Qassim, 19, American University Sharjah, Computer Engineering major and intern on the Mission team for Analysis and Modeling of Multispectral Satellite Data for Earthquake Prediction.

Hazza Bani Malek, 20, Higher Colleges of Technology RAK, Mechatronics major and intern on the Mission team to undertake Optical Spectroscopy Data Analysis of the Radiative Environment for Planetary Entry.

Hamad Rajab, 21, UAE University, Al Ain, Electrical Engineering major is intern on the Mission for Sustainability of Base Water Recycling Systems for both the NASA Green Building and Testing on the new NASA Spacecraft Recycling System.

For further information, please contact:
Arab Youth Venture Foundation
Lisa LaBonte
Tel: +971-50-888-4005

About the NASA & the NASA Educational Associates Program

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an executive branch agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and aeronautics and aerospace research.

NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth, advancing heliophysics through the efforts, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions, and researching astrophysics topics through strategically located observatories. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations.

Since 1998, the United States’ National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s Education Associates Program has placed more than 1,500 U.S. students from schools throughout America in research positions working on NASA missions.

About the Arab Youth Venture Foundation

Founded in 2007, the Arab Youth Venture Foundation develops innovative hands-on, minds-on activities that foster creative expression and experimentation in youth 6-21 simultaneously inspiring and empowering the next generation of scientific researchers, engineers, inventors, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs.

AYVF is best known for its unique educational partnership with NASA. Since launching its S.T.E.A.M. (Science/Tech/Engineering/Astronomy/Math), Literacy, and Art programs in 2008, AYVF has engaged over 22,000 UAE youth across 51 nationalities (over 6,000, or 29% of total, Emirati).

About Mubadala Development Company

Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala) is a catalyst for the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi. Established and owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, the company’s strategy is built on the management of partnerships and long-term, capital-intensive investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and contribute to the growth and diversification of its economy.

Mubadala brings together and manages a multi-billion dollar portfolio of local, regional, and international investments and partners with leading global organizations to operate businesses across a wide range of industry sectors including aerospace, energy, healthcare, industry, information communications and technology, infrastructure, real estate and hospitality. For more information about Mubadala please visit

Salam Kitmitto
Edelman Public Relations
M: +971 (0)50 800 8268