Who is Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Saudi woman in space?


Rayyanah Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, will be the first Saudi Arabian woman to launch into space in May.

Rayyanah Barnawi, together with three other astronauts, will launch on a private mission from the US state of Florida on May 8, according to NASA officials.

Rayyanah Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, will be the first Saudi Arabian woman to launch into space in May. Barnawi will be accompanied on the voyage by fellow Saudi Ali Al-Qarni, a fighter pilot; Peggy Whitson, a retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut; and John Shoffner, a Tennessee businessman who will act as pilot, NASA officials said Thursday.

The four-person crew will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on a SpaceX Dragon capsule, marking the second mission for private space business Axiom Space.

Rayyanah Barnawi is everything you need to know:

Axiom Mission 2 will have Barnawi as a mission specialist. (Ax-2). The international astronaut’s mission to space is considered as Saudi Arabia’s latest attempt to improve its ultra-conservative image.

She and the crew will launch from Florida, United States, on May 8 in a private mission viewed as a vital step towards the world’s first commercial space station – a prospective replacement for the International Space Station, NASA stated on its website.

Barnawi received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Otago in New Zealand. She has a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Saudi Arabia. She will be the first Muslim female astronaut to go to space on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station, according to NASA. She is a research laboratory technician with nine years of experience in breast cancer and stem-cell cancer research.

The mission follows Axiom Space’s first proposal in April 2022, when four astronauts spent 17 days in orbit as part of Ax-1. The launch will take place on May 8 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, according to Axiom Space and NASA officials at a pre-flight briefing.

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