First Arab Woman Astronaut Goes to Space Station on SpaceX

In a groundbreaking moment, SpaceX successfully sent the first female Saudi Arabian astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi, into space on a privately funded mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

As a stem cell researcher, Barnawi is now the first Arab woman to go beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Joining her on this historic mission is fighter pilot, Ali al-Qarni, marking the first time Saudi Arabian astronauts have ventured to the ISS.

The launch took place on Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center, with the crew comprising Barnawi, al-Qarni, a US businessman and a retired NASA astronaut currently working for the company that arranged the space mission.

The multi-million-dollar mission marks the second private trip to the space station arranged by Axiom Space. It sent three businessmen in 2022, accompanied by another ex-NASA astronaut.

Axiom Space has not disclosed the exact ticket cost for the 10-day mission. However, it had previously mentioned a price of $55 million (€50.85 million) per ticket.

According to NASA’s recent price list, it charges $2,000 (€1,848) per person per day for food and sleeping bags, and other equipment can cost up to $1,500 (€1,387).

The Saudi Arabian government paid for Barnawi and al-Qarni’s tickets, making them the first Saudis to fly in a rocket since a prince launched on the shuttle Discovery in 1985.

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