Since childhood, Sahda has dreamed of traveling the universe! With the support of her father and a passion for aerospace and astrophysics, Sahda is one of the most well known aspiring astronauts in The Middle East. Join her on her quest to discover not just the universe, but also humanity’s meaning.
“At a very young age, around my 7th year of standing on this planet, I dreamt of travelling through the stars. Right now, I live in the United Arab Emirates, where, 6 years ago, when I was a third grader during a science class on the solar system, I happened upon a picture of the Milky Way when my teacher was explaining about living in space. After the class, I went through what had been taught that day, and I wanted to be a part of NASA’s space program, so I talked to people around me. But each time I saw their reaction, they had a look which said “you will never make it”. However, I soon found support in my dad. He bought me encyclopedias and many other books to help. One of my early favorites was DK’s space encyclopedia, which gave me the basic knowledge of space travel. On my 11th birthday, I was surprised with a Celestron telescope. By then, most of the people around me understood that becoming an astronaut really was my dream because they noticed my dedication. 2014 was the year all my hard work started to pay off. During the test launch of Orion space craft, the announcer said some words that were really emotional and inspiring: “Go delta. Go Orion. This is the dawn of Orion, the dawn of America’s new age of space travel”. The following year, I joined twitter as an aspiring astronaut and got to know many other kids who had the same dream- I also started to be noticed by others around the world. The first person I met was Mackenzie, who is also known as @JrAstronaut. She supported and inspired me a lot. Then I met Astronaut Abby as a friend who always stood by my side. She is a reason where I am today. She continues to inspire me every day. A few months after that, I learnt that UAE’s will send a probe to Mars. This is when I knew UAE had a space agency. Then I got a message from MR. Ibrahim Al Qasim, the deputy project manager of the Emirates Mars Mission and the project manager of the Nayif-1 cube sat mission. The message asked me to visit the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC). I was really excited. Then the next year they had a space event called Mission: Space at downtown Dubai. There I met the Mars Mission project manager MR. Omran Sharaf and a few of the other people who work at MBRSC, whose words were also inspiring. They gave me a push like never before. Then came up an opportunity to be a part of the newly launched non-profit, called The Mars Generation, by Astronaut Abby. I joined it as an ambassador, and then I got to talk about the need for space travel and it went well except for my voice. I got recognized at my school as an astronaut in training and after the speech kids came up to me, even my seniors, and they were really glad to have heard my story. I knew that every opportunity I get is because someone was there to inspire me and give me a push. MR. Omran showed me that. With the help of Astronaut Abby and our principal, I formed the Scholars Astro Club at our school where my dreams all began. All the credit of my achievements inside the school go to my principal, who is a true supporter and the one who provides me with many amazing opportunities. Soon after forming the Scholars Astro Club, I got to visit the Sharjah center for astronomy and space sciences at Sharjah, UAE, where I met an astronomer named Ahmed whose words inspired me too. He said: “I’m an astronomer and you are an astronaut. I hope to see you up there”. Later on, I got to meet Astronaut Chris Hadfield who really helped me along my way to success by providing me and the other aspiring astronaut in the world with helpful videos of living in zero G. I met him after his talk in Dubai about his journey. The most inspiring part was when he gave me his watch to look at- we all thought it was amazing! (Don’t worry-I gave it back). He then signed a headshot for me, and he wished me luck on my path to be an astronaut. At the same event, I got to meet MR. Ibrahim along with MR. Saeed and MR. Saud (whom I already met before). They work for MBRSC. I enjoyed talking to them too. That was the most recent event in my journey. And I hope there is more to come! I believe in going to Mars and I wish to be among the first ones to get there. Remember that it is always you who has to choose your dream. There is always something that will interest you and you have to work towards it, inspiring people along the way. Let us start as students and end up serving the human race.”
To keep up with all of Sahda’s amazing adventures, you can follow or e-mail her below!
Google+ : +Sahda Haroon