Saudi Arabia to send its first woman into space


First-ever Saudi astronaut Rayyana Barnawi. — Twitter/@saudispace
First-ever Saudi astronaut Rayyana Barnawi. — Twitter/@saudispace

Saudi Arabia will ship its first-ever lady astronaut on an area mission later this yr, state media has reported, within the newest transfer to revamp the dominion’s ultra-conservative picture.

Rayyana Barnawi will be part of fellow Saudi male astronaut Ali Al-Qarni on a mission to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) “throughout the second quarter of 2023”, the official Saudi Press Company mentioned on Sunday.

The astronauts “will be part of the crew of the AX-2 house mission” and the house flight will “launch from the USA”, the company mentioned.

The oil-rich nation can be following within the footsteps of the neighbouring United Arab Emirates which in 2019 grew to become the primary Arab nation to ship certainly one of its residents into house.

On the time, astronaut Hazzaa al-Mansoori spent eight days on the ISS. One other fellow Emirati, Sultan al-Neyadi, may also make a voyage later this month.

Nicknamed the “Sultan of House”, 41-year-old Neyadi will turn into the primary Arab astronaut to spend six months in house when he blasts off for the ISS aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Gulf nations have been in search of to diversify their energy-reliant economies by means of a plethora of initiatives.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has additionally been attempting to shake off the dominion’s austere picture by means of a push for reforms.

Since his rise to energy in 2017, girls have been allowed to drive and to journey overseas with out a male guardian, and their proportion within the workforce has greater than doubled since 2016, from 17 per cent to 37 per cent.

Saudi Arabia’s foray into house just isn’t the primary, nonetheless.

In 1985, Saudi royal Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, an airforce pilot, took half in a US-organised house mission, changing into the primary Arab Muslim to journey into house.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia arrange an area programme and final yr launched one other to ship astronauts into house, all a part of Prince Salman’s Imaginative and prescient 2030 agenda for financial diversification.


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