Saudi Arabia makes history: First Arab female astronaut arrives at ISS


Saudi Arabia has made history with two of its astronauts, including the Arab world’s first female one, arriving at the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday evening. UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, who is inside the floating laboratory, is all set to give the space travellers a warm Emirati welcome.

Saudis Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni are part of Axiom Mission 2 that also includes commander Peggy Whitson and pilot John Shoffner. Their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft docked at the ISS at 5.12pm UAE time.

The four astronauts travelled 16 hours to reach their destination, where they will spend eight days. According to reports, the Saudi astronauts have taken traditional coffee and dates to the ISS to share with the ISS crew members, including AlNeyadi.

The astronauts are expected to depart the space station on May 30, “pending weather, for a return to Earth and splashdown at a landing site off the coast of Florida”, according to Nasa.

The mission is significant as it will mark the first time two Arab countries are represented in the orbiting space laboratory, and the first time three Arab astronauts will work together on a scientific mission 400km above Earth.


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