First Woman Astronaut Into Space : Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is set to send its first woman astronaut, Rayyana Barnawi, on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year, aboard a SpaceX Dragon.
- A Saudi Arabian woman will become the first woman astronaut from the country to go on a space mission later this year, AFP reported.
- Rayyana Barnawi will join fellow Saudi astronaut Ali Al-Qarni on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
- Barnawi and Al-Qarni will fly to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of a mission this spring by the private space company Axiom Space, according to Saudi Press Agency and Axiom. Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut, will also be on board for her fourth flight to the ISS.
- Meanwhile, John Shoffner, a Tennessee businessman, will be the pilot.
- American private space transportation company SpaceX has developed and produced several spacecraft named Dragon.
- The first family member, now referred to as Dragon 1, flew 23 cargo missions to the ISS between 2010 and 2020 before being retired.
- With this first version not designed for carrying astronauts, it was funded by NASA with $396 million awarded through the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, with SpaceX being announced as a winner of the first round of funding on August 18, 2006.
- SpaceX developed its Dragon 2 spacecraft starting in 2014, with a cargo version and a crewed version.
- It entered service in 2019 with the Demo-1 flight, and performed its first flight with astronauts on May 30, 2020, during the Crew Dragon Demo-2 flight.