Two Saudi Astronauts, Including First Saudi Female Astronaut, Successfully Arrive to International Space Station
At 1:37 a.m. GST astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali al-Qarni blasted off from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of the Axiom 2 space mission to the ISS from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The two Saudi astronauts have made it successfully to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, where they will be conducting 14 scientific and research experiments during their mission on the International Space Station (ISS). The results of the Saudi space mission, on board of which the Kingdom’s first-ever astronauts Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Arab Muslim female astronaut, will guarantee the Kingdom an avant-garde position in space exploration and in serving humanity and will assert the leading roles of the Saudi research centers and their intensified efforts in making an impact in the field. During their time on the ISS, the two Saudi astronauts will engage in 11 research and scientific experiments within a microgravity environment. Additionally, they will participate in three interactive educational experiences with students in the Kingdom, bringing the total number of experiments to 14. The focus will be on conducting human research, cell sciences, and cloud seeding experiments in the microgravity environment.
A team of researchers from the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, led by Dr. Khalid Abu Khabar, alongside Dr. Wijdan Al-Ahmadi and Dr. Adwar Hatti, in collaboration with the Saudi Space Commission (SSC), will oversee the cell science experiments. These experiments aim to deepen our understanding of how the inflammatory response changes in space, particularly regarding the lifespan of RNA. Furthermore, in cooperation with the SSC, Dr. Ashraf Farhat from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals will supervise the cloud seeding experiment in microgravity. This experiment aims to simulate the cloud seeding process used in the Kingdom and other countries to enhance rainfall rates. The findings will aid scientists and researchers in developing new methods to create suitable living conditions for humans in space colonies on the Moon and Mars.
A team from Sadeem Company for Research and Development, led by Dr. Bader Shirah, in collaboration with the SSC, will oversee six experiments in the field of human research. These experiments will focus on understanding human adaptation during spaceflights, assessing their impact on the brain, and studying the effects on human health while in space. Saudi male and female students will actively participate in scientific experiments conducted on the ISS. The goal is to enhance their understanding of space science and its potential to improve life on Earth. By comparing their experiments on Earth with those conducted by the Saudi crew aboard the ISS, students will have the opportunity for instant interaction. The Ministry of Education, King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity "Mawhiba," Riyadh Schools, and Misk Schools are collaborating to facilitate this unified experience.