We are a team of five Jordanian women dedicated to creating new opportunities for Jordanians, while also contributing to sustainable development for a better life on Earth.

Sahba El-Shawa

Founder and Executive Director

Sahba guides the team in the development of the roadmap and identifies the technical goals for JSRI, as well as plans for implementation of outreach strategies and the establishment of the analog facility.


Sahba El-Shawa is the first Jordanian and the first female Palestinian analog astronaut, as well as the Founder of the Jordan Space Research Initiative and the Palestine Space Institute.

Sahba holds a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia (2017) and an MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University (2020), with a background in Mechatronics from the German Jordanian University. During her studies, she worked on several space projects including a CubeSat and a suborbital rocket. She is now pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Development and Climate Change. She has previously worked with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) on robotics research and at the European Space Agency’s Clean Space initiative focusing on the environmental impacts of space activities.

Sahba is passionate about human rights and social issues, as well as space sustainability, accessibility, outreach, and education. She holds several volunteer positions in the Space Generation Advisory Council and the Moon Village Association, including being the Co-lead of the SGAC’s Ethics & Human Rights project group and the Space for Climate Action policy division, as well as a National Coordinator in the Moon Village Association’s Participation of Emerging Space Countries program. She founded JSRI with the goal of establishing an analog research facility in Jordan, building on her master's thesis which bridged sustainable development and the UN Space 2030 Agenda with Jordan's national priorities. 

Sahba is committed to creating opportunities in space for underserved communities and helping guide the industry towards a more equitable and ethical future.

Stakeholder Engagement Officer

Merna develops and implements communication strategies for the growth of JSRI, including stakeholder engagement.

Merna Zrekat


Merna Alzurikat is a young Architect and designer. She's currently working for Engicon, a leading Jordanian Engineering Consultant company.

Merna is also pursuing a micromasters degree in Business Administration. And as an Architect she is interested in the environment, human behaviour and societal challenges. She is also passionate about sustainable design and green architecture. Merna has an open mind that is full of aspirations for the future, a very curious personality and a persisting eagerness to break new grounds.

The idea of starting something for the first time in Jordan despite all the possible challenges had urged Merna to become part of the Social Engagement Team at JSRI, she thought that this first small step may possibly aid later Jordanian generations in taking giant leaps towards the moon.

Ghayda Al-Sona

Community Engagement Officer

Ghayda develops and implements outreach strategies including public engagement and marketing.


Ghayda Al-Sona is an Architect, an Urban Planner and a Researcher. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from German Jordanian University in Architectural Sciences in 2015. She worked for two years as a Junior Architect at "Engicon" a global engineering consulting firm based in Amman, Jordan, with offices across the Middle East and in the United States. Later, she continued her Higher Education studies in Palermo, Italy where she obtained her Masters’ degree in Urban, Environmental and Territorial Planning from the University of Palermo in 2020. Currently, Ghayda is a freelance Researcher, a Communication Officer and a Community engagement officer with multiple initiatives as one of the core team members, one of which is JSRI.

Ghayda is interested in topics such as: Community Engagement, Participatory Practices, Spatial Justice, Gender Equality and Sustainable Development.

Jude Alsaadi

Financial Officer

Jude manages implementation of strategies for JSRI growth, and develops financial forecasts. 


Jude Alsaadi holds a bachelor’s degree in International Accounting from the German Jordanian University, and has held internship positions in various capacities at DHL, PwC, and EY.


Jude joined the JSRI team to help create space research opportunities in Jordan and help establish Jordan as an emerging space country. Jude contributes to the financial aspects of our projects, researches potential partners, and works to develop financial forecasts and funding opportunities.

Business Development  Officer

Zaina develops and implements business developments plans including establishing partnerships.

Zaina Abu Sha'ar


Zaina Abu Sha'ar holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. Zaina has done an internship at NASA Ames research Center and was a member in the Mechanical and Structural Subsystem at MASAR, the initiative responsible for designing and building Jordan's first CubeSat. Zaina has worked at a business incubator for six years.