Saudi Arabia has achieved a historic milestone as two of its astronauts, including the Arab world’s first female astronaut, have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). The UAE astronaut, Sultan AlNeyadi, who is already on board the ISS, is prepared to give the Saudi astronauts a warm Emirati welcome.
The Saudi astronauts, Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni, are part of the Axiom Mission 2, which also includes commander Peggy Whitson and pilot John Shoffner. Their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully docked at the ISS at 5:12 pm UAE time, following a 16-hour journey.
During their eight-day stay, the Saudi astronauts have brought traditional coffee and dates to share with the crew members on the ISS, including AlNeyadi. This gesture showcases their cultural heritage and fosters a sense of camaraderie in space.
The astronauts are scheduled to depart the space station on May 30, subject to weather conditions, and return to Earth with a splashdown landing off the coast of Florida, as per NASA’s plans.
This mission holds great significance as it marks the first time that two Arab countries are represented in the ISS, and it is also the first time that three Arab astronauts will collaborate on a scientific mission 400km above Earth. It symbolizes the growing presence and involvement of Arab nations in space exploration and scientific endeavors.
The participation of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in this joint mission demonstrates their commitment to advancing space exploration and research. It not only serves as a source of national pride but also promotes scientific collaboration and inspires future generations in the Arab world to pursue careers in space and related fields.
The successful arrival of the Saudi astronauts at the ISS and their collaboration with international astronauts highlight the importance of global cooperation in pushing the boundaries of human exploration and scientific knowledge. As they carry out their mission, the astronauts will conduct experiments and contribute to the ongoing research efforts taking place aboard the ISS.
This historic mission signifies a significant step forward for Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Arab world as they continue to make strides in space exploration, fostering international cooperation, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and explorers.