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Rayyanah Barnawi to become first Saudi female astronaut on AX-2 mission

Saudi Arabia’s Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni will be the first Saudi astronauts sent by the kingdom to the International Space Station, as part of the crew of the AX-2 space mission.

The scientific flight is scheduled to launch from the US on May 21.

Barnawi is a Saudi astronaut, born in 1990.

On February 12 she was chosen as part of the AX-2 space mission crew by the Saudi Space Commission to become the first Saudi woman to go into space.

Barnawi is also a laboratory research specialist, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Reproductive Science, Genetic Engineering and Tissue Development from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and has also experience in the field of cancer stem cells.

TheĀ  Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Space Commission Abdullah bin Amer al-Sawaha explained that Saudi Arabia is counting on its astronaut program to strengthen its position on the map of countries that compete and invest in specialized space sciences.

Sawaha said that in Saudi Arabia is interested in activating specialized scientific innovations in space science within the coming period.

The Saudi Space Commission had previously launched the Saudi national astronaut program as part of a set of steps taken by the kingdom to qualify Saudi cadres to enter the vast world of space, as well as participate in scientific experiments and research to achieve the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia’s contributions to space exploration are not recent, as it previously participated with a Saudi scientific team in the first flight of the space shuttle for Arabs, “Discovery” in 1985.

The number of the participating Saudi team members in the mission reached nearly 30, including a scientist and an astronaut, led by Prince Sultan bin Salman.

Bin Salman was awarded the Space Medal by the US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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