The Saudi Space Commission is sending their first crew to the International Space Station, and making history with her male counterpart is 33 year old Rayyanah Barnawi – the kingdom’s first female astronaut that will be completing her debut mission. She will be a part of Axiom Mission 2 as a specialist along with Ali Al Qarni, a fellow Saudi national.
Following the announcement of her flight, Barnawi has inspired masses of Saudi women and prior to having even joined the mission, she was already a role model in her own right. Rayyanah Barnawi is also a biomedical researcher who has 10 years of experience in the field of cancer stem-cell research. She had graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor’s degree in Genetics, Reproduction, and Development, and a masters in Biomedical Sciences from Alfaisal University. Since obtaining her educational certificates, she has worked as a research laboratory technician at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre.
Barnawi, along with her flight-mate, Ali Al Qarni and backup crew members Mariam Fardous and Ali Al Ghamdi will be receiving intense training under the Saudi Space Commission’s Spaceflight Program. The kingdom’s dedication to developing its space program under Vision 2030 has allowed the country to achieve this milestone, as well as one that is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s strides towards gender equality. Barnawi’s space flight will not only facilitate Saudi Arabia’s scientific research, but will also inspire Saudi women to aim for bigger goals.
The Saudi crew members will be heading to the United States for the launch later this year and will be joined by former Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson as spacecraft commander and John Shoffner who will be piloting the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Source: Cosmo Politian
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