RIYADH — Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni revealed that their preparations and readiness are complete for their International Space Station (ISS) scientific mission scheduled for May 21.
The announcement came during Tuesday’s Axiom Space press conference during the quarantine period for the flight’s crew, which includes US astronauts Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner.
The two Saudi astronauts confirmed that they were ready to implement the journey’s objectives and noted its historical importance to the people and leadership of the Kingdom, as it is anticipated to launch a new phase for the Kingdom in space and contribute to inspiring future generations.
They also expressed gratitude and appreciation for the wise leadership that believed in the capabilities of Saudi youth and provided them with all the resources necessary to excel through the Kingdom’s programs for astronauts under the supervision of the Saudi Space Commission.
“We are very enthusiastic to blast off to space and bring off historic achievements to our country and to the entire humanity,” Barnawi said in response to reporters’ questions.
“We believe that science is limitless, and we will pursue our mission to the International Space Station with that principle being the basis. We will search, explore, and participate in building a bright future for humanity.
“I have been working in scientific and medical research for ten years, and I am very proud to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first Arab Muslim female astronaut, especially now when we are just a few days before our launch into space,” Barnawi said.
Asked what she would take to space, Barnawi replied, “I am so proud to take with me the dreams of Saudi and Arab women to space, and I am here because of the Saudi leadership’s support.”
“I feel very excited each time I remember I am going to space and seeing the dream of my life coming true. Knowing that I am going to space, my grandmother gifted me a pair of more than 60 years old earnings.”
“As Saudis, we usually enjoy an honorable presence in all fields of scientific progress. We will be, Allah willing, an extension for the homeland’s achievements in our coming journey,” said Saudi astronaut Al-Qarni.
“We feel proud and excited because it will be our first time going to the International Space Station,” Al-Qarni said. “We look forward to conducting and applying scientific experiments with students during our mission,” he added.
The Saudi astronaut said he has been working as a pilot in the Air Force throughout his career. “Now I am looking forward to performing experiments in space,” he affirmed.
Al-Qarni said that his scientific knowledge would allow him to work on the cloud-seeding experiment in space and test its effectiveness and impact on humanity. “My feelings about this new experience are indescribable,” he said.
Al-Qarni hailed the training environment provided by Saudi Arabia as a “motivator for us to make achievements in various fields. We thank the wise leadership, my family, and all the agencies and partners for their support to make this scientific journey a success.
The historic space mission confirms the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting space exploration efforts, encouraging relevant practical research, and strengthening its people’s role in space programs and scientific and technological fields.
The Saudi commitment in this regard aims to achieve the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which seeks to highlight the Kingdom’s role in the space sector and its technologies. SPA