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First Arab woman in space, Saudi astronauts will take off on May 9

The launch date for two Saudi Arabian astronauts to head to the International Space Station has been revealed.

Rayyanah Barnawi, who will be the first Arab woman in space, and Ali Al Qarni will blast off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA on May 9.

The launch is scheduled for 5.43am Saudi time.

Saudi mission to space

Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, and fighter pilot Al Qarni will join up with UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi on the International Space Station, for a 10-day mission. 

Ahead of becoming the first Arab woman in space Barnawi said: “We are all excited and proud as Saudi astronauts to announce the launch date of our journey into space in May.

“We look forward to completing the objectives of the kingdom’s space programme, which will contribute to achieving future explorations in various fields.”

The news was announced at a joint briefing from NASA and Axiom Space.

They will be joined on the mission by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and US pilot John Shoffner.

The four-member crew will travel to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule. Axiom is a private US space company making only its second mission.

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