The First Female Astronaut From Saudi Will Go To Space In The Second Quarter Of 2023

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
The First Female Astronaut From Saudi Will Go To Space In The Second Quarter Of 2023

Saudi Arabia announced that it will be sending its first female astronaut, Rayyana Barnawi, into space. Rayyana Barnawi will be accompanied by male astronaut Ali AlQarni during the second quarter of 2023 to the International Space Station (ISS). Both of these astronauts will be joining the crew of the AX-2 space mission. They will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Saudi Announces Sending Its First Female Astronaut To Space

Rayyana Barnawi, the first female astronaut from Saudi Arabia to be sent into space, will join Ali AlQarni on a 10-day mission. Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who will be making her fourth trip to the ISS, and Tennessee businessman John Shoffner, who will serve as the pilot, will be travelling with them. The  AX-2 space mission, which they will join further, is scheduled to be launched from the United States.

This mission intends to strengthen the nation’s spaceflight capabilities so that it can better serve humanity and take advantage of the exciting opportunities that the space sector has to offer. Additionally, it will advance scientific study in a variety of fields, including medicine, sustainability, and space technology.

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Two More Astronauts Are Being Trained For Upcoming Missions

As part of the Saudi Human Spaceflight Programme, two additional astronauts, Mariam Fardous and Ali AlGamdi, are being trained for upcoming space missions in addition to Barnawi and AlQarni. The programme is supported by the Ministry of Defense, the Saudi Space Commission, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Sport, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, and other international partners.

The Saudi Space Commission’s CEO, Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Tamimi, expressed his gratitude for the commission’s assistance and empowerment, which allowed the nation to make significant strides in the space industry. Eng Abdullah Bin Amer Al-Swaha, the chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, emphasised the commitment of the Kingdom to provide unrestricted assistance for the space programme.

This comes at a time when Saudi Arabia‘s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has implemented numerous reforms to improve the country’s reputation for conservatism. Women will soon be able to drive and travel internationally unaccompanied.

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Cover Image Courtesy: @saudispace/Twitter