Saudi Arabia to send its 1st female astronaut to space this year: Details
Saudi Arabia Space Mission: Along with them will be Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who will be making her fourth flight to the ISS.
Saudi Arabia will send its first ever woman astronaut on a space mission later this year. Rayyana Barnawi will join Ali Al-Qarni on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said adding that they will fly to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of a mission by the private space company Axiom Space.
Along with them will be Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who will be making her fourth flight to the ISS, and John Shoffner, a businessman from Tennessee who will serve as pilot, the agency informed.
The crew will be launched to the ISS by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. With this, Saudi Arabia is following the footsteps of UAE which became the the first Arab country to send one of its citizens into space in 2019.
This come as Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced many reforms to change the kingdom's conservative image. The steps include women being allowed to drive and travel abroad without a male guardian.
For Saudi Arabia, this is not the first foray into space. In 1985, Saudi royal Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz took part in a US-organized space mission, becoming the first Arab Muslim to travel into space.
Saudi Arabia also set up its space program in 2018. In 2022, Saudi Arabia launched another program to send astronauts into space, all part of Crown Prince Salman's Vision 2030 agenda for economic diversification.
- Saudi Arabia