Rayyanah Barnawi Creates History as Become First Saudi Woman to Travel to Space:
Saudi Arabia’s first astronauts in decades embarked on a chartered multimillion-dollar flight to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday. The crew, led by a retired NASA astronaut currently working for the organizing company, was launch by SpaceX from the Kennedy Space Center.
Accompanying the retired astronaut and the Saudi crew members was a U.S. businessman who owns a sports car racing team. The four individuals expected to reach the ISS on Monday morning. And spend just over a week there before returning home with a splashdown off the coast of Florida.
Rayyanah Barnawi, a stem cell researcher, made history as the first woman from Saudi Arabia to venture into space, sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government. She was join by Ali al-Qarni, a fighter pilot with the Royal Saudi Air Force. They are the first Saudi Arabian astronauts since a Saudi prince flew aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1985. Notably, they will be welcomed at the ISS by an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.
Expressing her excitement, Barnawi said, “Hello from outer space! It feels amazing to be viewing Earth from this capsule.” Al-Qarni added, “As I look outside into space, I can’t help but think this is just the beginning of a great journey for all of us.”
Completing the visiting crew is John Shoffner from Knoxville, Tennessee, a former driver and owner of a sports car racing team that competes in Europe. Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the ISS and the record holder for the most accumulated time in space by a U.S. astronaut (665 days and counting), serves as their chaperone.
The launch of these Saudi Arabian astronauts marks a significant milestone for the country. As they join the international space community, paving the way for further exploration and scientific endeavors.