Saudi astronauts’ preparations for a journey to the International Space Station


Saudi Arab- Two Saudi astronauts who are going to the International Space Station for a 10-day journey will represent the next Arab success in space.

On May 12 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Axiom-2 mission will include Ali Al Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, who will make history by becoming the first Arab woman in space.

Almost 40 years have passed since Saudi Arabia launched the first Arab into orbit.

In 1985, Prince Sultan bin Salman took a week-long trip on the Space Shuttle.

The National looks at how the Saudi astronauts have been training with the launch only about two months away.

Having a home in space

To prepare for their journey, the Ax-2 astronauts participated in the Human Exploration Research Analogue (Hera) programme.

They spent a week inside the habitat, which is a small three-story structure at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston that simulates space travel.

In exploration scenarios, the habitat serves as a ground-based analogue for isolation, confinement, and remote conditions.

“The Hera programme not only prepared us for the physical demands of space travel, but it also assisted us in developing the teamwork and communication skills required for a successful mission,” Mr Al Qarni tweeted.

During their time in the habitat, the crew completed tasks that they will perform on the ISS, went through rigorous equipment training, and practised emergency scenarios.

Cooking up space cuisine

While on the space station, the crew has also been learning how to cook.

Because water is heavy, astronauts typically bring dehydrated meals, freeze-dried food, and powdered beverages to space to reduce weight and save storage space.

“Food preparation in space differs from food preparation on Earth,” Mr Al Qarni tweeted on February 24, along with photos of himself and Ms Barnawi.

Before consuming, astronauts add water or reheat their food.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s believed that the Saudi team will travel to space with some of their favourite foods.

On the shuttle, Prince Salman served a special menu that included sweet and sour chicken, boiled sweet corn, cauliflower cheese, tuna salad, pasta, shrimp, salmon, fried chicken, hot cocoa, fruit, and vegetables, as well as coffee and tea without caffeine.

UAE’s first astronaut brought home-style Emirati meals like salona (chicken stew), madrooba, and balaleet (a traditional breakfast delicacy of sweetened vermicelli with an omelette on top) (a savoury thick oatmeal).Additionally, Dr. Al Neyadi consumed dates and other Arab foods. The complete selection will be made public at a later time.

Understanding the station

The technologies and tools on the ISS are also being taught to the Saudi astronauts.

They will alight on the station’s American section, the Harmony module.

“One of the highlights of astronaut training is having the opportunity to acquire knowledge about innovative space technologies that are used on board the ISS,” Mr Al Qarni said last week.

Ms. Al Barnawi and Mr. Al Qarni will work as mission experts on the ISS, which entails that they will carry out research projects and educational initiatives.

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