First Saudi Female Astronauts’ Mission to Space: One Small Step for Saudi Women

Saudi Arabia has announced the selection of two female astronauts – Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni – for the AX-2 space mission. This is a historic mission for the country, as it will be the first time Saudi Arabia has sent a female astronaut to space. The spaceflight will launch from the USA to the International Space Station in the second quarter of 2023.

Rayyanah Barnawi, a 33-year-old laboratory specialist, is one of the two astronauts selected for the mission. She has a vast experience in cancer stem cell research and is currently a research and laboratory specialist.

A graduate of King Faisal University with a master’s degree in biomedical sciences. Barnawi has a bachelor’s degree in reproductive science, genetic engineering, and tissue development from the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The Saudi Human Spaceflight Program also includes training two more astronauts – Mariam Fardous and Ali Al-Ghamdi – on all mission requirements. This program aims to empower the capabilities of Saudi scientists in human spaceflight and contribute to scientific research in various aspects. Health, sustainability, and space technology enhance the country’s ability to independently conduct its space industry research.

The selection of Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni for the AX-2 space mission is a significant step forward for Saudi Arabia‘s space program. The Kingdom’s leadership is committed to developing human capital. That will attract talent and necessary skills and enhance the country’s capabilities in the space industry.

According to the Saudi Space Commission Chairman, Abdullah Bin Amer Al-Swaha.the Kingdom’s leadership is committed to providing unlimited support to the space program. The program aims to activate scientific innovations in space sciences, increase graduates’ interest in STEM fields, and develop human capital by attracting talents and necessary skills.

Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Tamimi, the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, thanked the authorities for their encouragement and empowerment of the organization, which allowed for sizable advancements in the country’s space industry.

He emphasized that human spaceflight symbolizes countries’ superiority and global competitiveness in various fields such as technology, engineering, research, and innovation.

This mission is also significant as it will make Saudi Arabia one of the few countries worldwide to simultaneously send two astronauts of the same nationality aboard the International Space Station.

The Saudi Space Commission works with a number of institutions, including the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Sport.

It also works with foreign partners like Axiom Space, a company that focuses on human spaceflight and the creation of space infrastructure in the USA.

The upcoming spaceflight will launch from the United States and head to the International Space Station, carrying the Saudi Arabian astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni.

This program is part of the Saudi Arabian government’s initiative to boost national capabilities in human spaceflight and contribute to scientific research in health, sustainability, and space technology. The goal is to develop independent research capabilities that will benefit the country’s future in the space industry.

This historic mission will contribute to scientific research and innovation in various fields and put Saudi Arabia on the map as a significant player in the space industry.

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