As expected, the representatives of Saudi Arabia will spend 10 days on the ISS and then return to Earth.
Barnavi, an oncologist by profession, said she was honored to be the first Arab female astronaut. She is looking forward to the opportunity to get in touch on board the ISS, to communicate with students from Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries during live broadcasts (various scientific and medical experiments are planned with the participation of representatives of various online universities). “To be able to see her faces when they first see the astronauts from her region is very exciting,” said Ella Barnavi.
As for Ali al-Karni, he is a test pilot. “I have always been passionate about exploring the unknown and admiring the sky and the stars. So this is a great opportunity for me to follow this passion and this time fly among the stars,” he said before going into space.
Remember that Saudi Arabia created the Space Administration in 2018 and recently launched an astronaut training program. The current flight of Ali al-Qarni and Ryan Barnavi is part of a strategy to improve the image of a country where just a few years ago women were not allowed to drive.
It is worth noting that the first Saudi, as well as the first Arab, to go into space was Prince Sultan bin Salman. In 1985, at the age of 28, he spent 7 days in orbit as part of an international crew of seven aboard NASA’s shuttle Discovery.