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The first Saudi woman in space. It will fly to the ISS later this year

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Rajana (Rayyanah) Barnawi is the first Saudi citizen to go into space. Doctor of biomedical sciences will go to the International Space Station during the private mission AX-2, which is scheduled for May 2023.

The Saudi Space Commission confirmed Monday that 33-year-old Rajana (Rayyanah) Barnawi, the first Saudi female astronaut, will take part in the private AX-2 mission. He holds a PhD in biomedical sciences and specializes in cancer stem cell research.

Historical moment

The private AX-2 mission is organized by Axiom Space, which carries out missions commissioned by space agencies, companies and individuals. The launch aboard the Crew Dragon is scheduled for May 2023.

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Together with Barnawi, another Saudi national will fly to the International Space Station (ISS), 31-year-old Ali Al Karni, a fighter pilot serving in the Saudi Air Force, and two Americans from Axiom Space: mission commander Peggy Whitson and pilot John Shoffner. In addition to Barnawi and Al Karni, Mariam Fardous and Ali al-Gamdi, the reserve crew, will also be trained to take part in the mission.

The first citizen of Saudi Arabia to fly in cosmoswas Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, who participated in the shuttle mission in 1985.

Government support

The head of the Saudi Space Commission, Abdullah Al Swaha, assured that the kingdom’s government has given the space program “unlimited support”. In particular, the authorities are counting on an increase in young people’s interest in exact and natural sciences.

The Saudi news agency adds that taking part in the program will contribute to the development of scientific research in important areas such as health, sustainable development and space technology.

The Saudi partners for the program are the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the research center of the King Faisal Hospital.

PAP, Al Arabiya, spacenews.com

Main photo source: Saudi Space Commission

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