The first Arab woman to visit space is Rayyanah Barnawi. Yesterday, the first female Muslim and Arab astronaut arrived for a 10-day mission at the International Space Station (ISS). The second and third Saudis to travel to space are female researcher Rayyanah Barnawi (age 33), who studies cancer, and her male colleague Ali al-Qarni (age 31), a jet pilot.
The first was Prince Sultan bin Salman, a pilot for the Saudi air force who, in 1985, traveled into space on the American space shuttle Discovery. He was also the first Muslim, Arab, and Saudi to do so. Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, has a half-brother named Mr. bin Salman.
Mission from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center
United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan al-Neyadi, who is on a six-month mission, welcomed the Saudis. He set a new milestone by being the first Arab to perform a spacewalk. He worked outside the ISS for seven hours with US engineer Stephen Bowen.
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The Saudis will carry out 20 experiments, including studies into cancer prevention and early detection as well as the production of artificial rain for potential lunar and Martian communities. They intend to talk to students and observe kite flight in zero gravity using a fan. On Sunday, the commercial mission launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Peggy Witson, a seasoned astronaut from the US, is in charge of the Dragon Freedom spacecraft.
Axiom Space, based in Houston, organized the expedition. For Axiom’s debut endeavor, the ticket cost $55 million (€51 million) per traveler. Before embarking on the expedition, Ms. Barnawi broke down obstacles on Earth. By acquiring degrees in biological sciences from Saudi and New Zealand colleges, she overcomes the fiercely orthodox limitations on women in Saudi Arabia.
She finished her training in Saudi Arabia last year to get ready for zero gravity and low oxygen levels. Her rise to fame came after several Saudi prohibitions on women were lifted, allowing them to travel, drive, watch sporting events, and obtain passports without the help of a man. However, on March 8, 2022, the kingdom established a personal status law that denies women equality with males and places women under the guardianship of men in marriage and divorce.