Two Saudi Astronauts Are Scheduled to Embark On An Expedition To The ISS On May 9th:
Two Saudi astronauts will embark on a 10-day expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on May 9th at 6:43 a.m. UAE time. The announcement was made during a remote media briefing on Thursday by SpaceX and Axiom Space, the Houston-based firm that assisted Saudi Arabia in arranging the trip.
Behind the Scenes with the Saudi Astronauts: Training to Scale New Heights
Ali Al Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Arab woman in space, will participate in the AX-2 mission, with Peggy Whitson, a veteran NASA astronaut, serving as commander and John Shoffner as the pilot. Ms. Barnawi stated that they are all thrilled to announce the date of their May launch into space as Saudi astronauts. She continued by saying that they were looking forward to fulfilling the goals of the kingdom’s space program, which will help advance future research in a variety of sectors. They will join UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, whose six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS) began on March 3rd.
The crew will be practicing in a mock-up of the Dragon capsule as launch day draws near so they can become accustomed to the spacecraft. In addition to various locations in the US, Europe, and Japan, they have trained in Houston throughout the past year. They are well-prepared for the task, according to Commander Whitson. She continued that they have participated in team-building exercises, zero-G flights, outdoor and confined environment training, and centrifuge training. Additionally, she claims that John, who has extensive flight and technical knowledge, will be the pilot. Ali, a military pilot, brings a lot of operational and shrewd discipline to the assignment and is constantly offering to take on extra responsibilities. She noted that Rayyanah would be the first Saudi woman to fly in space. As a result, she undoubtedly plays an important function as a role model. Her scientific experience in breast cancer and stem cell research is essential for many of the investigations that they will carry out during the trip.
More About Axiom Space
Axiom Space, the same company that facilitated the UAE’s recent trip to the ISS, made it possible for Saudi Arabia to participate in the mission. The company has made similar agreements with Turkey, Italy, and Hungary, assisting other countries in accessing space. In low-Earth orbit, Axiom Space is also constructing a commercial space station that will serve as a home for travelers, astronauts, and researchers.
The Saudi astronauts’ mission to the International Space Station is a key milestone in the kingdom’s space program. Ali Al Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi’s adventure to become the first Arab women in space is set to inspire future generations and drive scientific research in a variety of sectors, thanks to the partnership of Axiom Space and other partners.