The first-ever woman astronaut of Saudi Arabia will go to space this year, Saudi woman astronaut Rayyana Barnawi will join fellow Saudi Ali Al-Qarni on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this year. Barnawi and Al-Qarni will fly to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of a mission by the private space company Axiom Space.
First-Ever Woman Astronaut from Saudi Arabia to go on Space Mission in 2023- Key Points
- The Ax-2 will be launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
- Axiom Space carried out its first private astronaut mission to the ISS in April 2022 under which four private astronauts spent 17 days in orbit.
- In 2019, Saudi’s neighbor the United Arab Emirates became the first Arab country to send one of its citizens into space.
- Astronaut Hazzaa al-Mansoori spent eight days on the ISS. Another fellow Emirati, Sultan al-Neyadi, will also make a voyage to the space station in February this year.
- Neyadi, also known as “Sultan of Space”, will become the first Arab astronaut to spend six months in space when he blasts off for the ISS aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
- Saudi de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been trying to shake off the kingdom’s austere image through a push for reforms.
- During his regime since 2017, Saudi women have been allowed to drive and travel abroad without a male guardian. Women’s proportion in the workforce has more than doubled since 2016, from 17% to 37%.
- In the oil-rich country in 1985, sent country’s royal Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, an air force pilot on a US-organised mission. It became the first Arab Muslim country to travel to space.
- Years later in 2018, the country set up a space program and last year launched another to send astronauts into space as part of Prince Salman’s Vision 2030 agenda for economic diversification.