Two Saudi Astronauts Set for Launch to Space Station

  • Publish date: Sunday، 21 May 2023
Two Saudi Astronauts Set for Launch to Space Station

Rayyanah Barnawi, the first female astronaut from Saudi Arabia, and her colleague Ali Al Qarni will blast off to the International Space Station (ISS) today, Sunday, May 21st.

Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, along with F-16 fighter pilot Al Qarni, will be part of Axiom Space 2 mission, which will be blasting off no earlier than 5.37 pm (EDT time) on May 21, NASA said.

Axiom Space 2 will also include astronaut Peggy Whiston and business visionary and pilot John Shoffner.

Al Qarni and Barnawi will be the first Saudis to travel to the space station, and Barnawi will make history as the country's first woman to fly in space.

“Research has been my passion in life,” she said at a pre-launch news conference.

“I’m very happy and honored to be here today representing the government of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Space Commission as the first Saudi woman astronaut going to the International Space Station.

“This is a great opportunity for me to represent the country, to represent their dreams. ... This is a dream come true for everyone.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off today, with a backup launch window at 5:14 pm tomorrow, Monday, May 22nd.

Whitson, Shoffner, Al Qarni, and Barnawi intend to do 20 research projects during their eight-day space trip, 14 of which were created by Saudi scientists that range from human physiology and cell biology to technology development.

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