First ever female astronaut from Saudi Arabia to onboard her journey

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State media has announced that Saudi Arabia will send its first female astronaut on a space mission later this year, the latest step in the country’s effort to shed its notoriously conservative reputation. The AX-2 space mission, which is set to take off from the United States, will include Rayyanah Barnawi and a male astronaut named Ali AlQarni, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).Saudi Space Commission stated on Twitter that “every voyage has its pioneers and every mission has its heroes.”

The oil-rich nation will be following in the footsteps of the nearby United Arab Emirates, which made history in 2019 by being the first Arab nation to send a person into space. Hazzaa al-Mansoori, an astronaut at the time, was on the ISS for eight days. Later this month, Sultan al-Neyadi, another fellow Emirati, will travel. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has also been working to restructure the country in an effort to shed its reputation for austerity.

Other Gulf nations are becoming more and more interested in space exploration. Emirati space explorer “Rashid” embarked on a 5-month voyage to the moon in December 2022 aboard a Japanese spacecraft.

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