It is almost time for Saudi Arabia to write history as its first woman astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi, and a fellow Saudi, Ali Al-Qarni are preparing to embark on their landmark space expedition to the International Space Station on May 9.
An official from NASA and Axiom Space announced on Thursday that Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni will depart from Florida for an international space station (ISS) mission.
It will be the first time that a Saudi woman to embark into space will be joined by a Saudi fighter pilot, Ali Al-Qarni. Barnawi is a breast cancer researcher and this is her first mission into space.
In addition to Barnawi and Al-Qarni, two other astronauts will participate in the mission. This is Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who will be making her fourth trip to the International Space Station, and John Shoffner, a Tennessee businessman who will serve as pilot.
They will all join UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyyadi on board the International Space Station, who began his six-month mission on March 3.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the four-member crew will launch from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral at 0243 GMT on May 9.
The astronauts will travel to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule and remain aboard the space station for ten days. There will be a second mission by Axiom Space, a private company in the US, to the International Space Station (ISS), called Axiom Mission 2.