Saudi Arabia will send a female astronaut on a space mission for the first time ever later this year.
Rayyana Barnawi will join her fellow Saudi astronaut Ali Al-Qarni on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the official Saudi Press Agency said. Barnawi and Al Qarni will fly to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of a mission by private space company Axiom Space this spring.
The AX-2 crew will also include former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner, a Tennessee businessman who will be the pilot. The AX-2 crew will be launched into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Axiom Space carried out its first all-private astronaut mission to the ISS – AX-1 – in April 2022.