Welcome Home: A New Era Of Saudi Astronauts

The long wait has lastly concerned an end! Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, who made headlines for being the first female Saudi astronaut, return home safely from their ten-day trip to the International Space Station on Wednesday, May 31st. After undocking from the orbiting lab, they parachuted from the SpaceX pill and landed just off the Florida panhandle, which was witnessed live by thousands of enthusiastic Saudi residents.

The AX-2 mission was independently funded by the company Axiom, and the astronauts traveled to the ISS on a spacecraft offered by Elon Musk’s, SpaceX.

While on board the orbiting laboratory, the astronauts conducted 14 groundbreaking scientific experiments, including 6 experiments related to the brain and nerve system, four experiments involving immune cells, and an experiment in water seeding technology. The objective of these experiments are to boost our understanding of human health in space and identify biomarkers or prospective biotechnology-based treatments for inflammatory diseases both on Earth and beyond.

As Rayyanah packed away her experiments, she remained in tears and said, “every story comes to an end, and this is only the beginning of a new age for our nation and our region.” The people of Saudi Arabia are thrilled to invite house the astronauts and are positive it won’t be their last journey to space.

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