In a post titled "Islamizing NASA," Atlas Shrugs' Pamela Geller forwarded a Jihadwatch.org claim that "Three Muslims from the UAE become [the] first non-U.S. citizens to train at NASA." Of course, Geller doesn't even attempt to explain why it's a problem that three Emiratis are training at NASA facilities aside from tying it to the right-wing freak-out over NASA administrator Charles Bolden saying he was looking for ways to "reach out to the Muslim world." It's just self-evidently problematic, I guess. After all, there are Muslims involved.
In addition, the claim that there has never been a foreigner to "train at NASA" seemed quite fishy.
Geller's and JihadWatch.org's claim is based on an article in the Emirati newspaper The National which reports that "[t]hree Emiratis ... are the first non-US citizens to train at the Nasa space agency." But the article later states that the three people are "to take part in the Educational Associates programme, which was previously reserved for US citizens." This seems like a case of sloppy reporting that Jihadwatch.org and Geller took at face value without any investigation. The report appears to be saying that one NASA program is being opened up to non-U.S. citizens for the first time, not all of NASA.
And indeed, according to the website space.com, which provides content to FoxNews.com and other media outlets, "[t]he first foreign applicants were admitted in 1980" to NASA's astronaut-training class:
Of the 25 astronauts admitted to the most recent NASA astronaut-training class, conducted in 1998, six were from other countries. The program, which takes in new prospects every two years, has ranged in class size from 19 to 35 since 1978, a year in which 8,079 Americans applied. In recent years, that number has dropped to below 3,000.
The first foreign applicants were admitted in 1980, in advance of the initiative to send international teams to a space station. Like their American counterparts, each of the 26 foreign candidates over the years has survived training and become an astronaut.
But Geller is never one to let the facts get in the way of her attacks on Muslims.