After a historic launch early on Monday from Florida‘s Kennedy Space Center, two Saudi astronauts are currently en route to the International Space Station.
In a Dragon spacecraft with them are American coworkers Peggy Whitson and Jeff Shoffner, as well as Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Arab woman to travel into space, and Saudi Ali Al Qarni.
At 5.24 PM Gulf Standard Time, they are scheduled to dock with the space station. At 7.13 PM, the hatch between the Dragon and the ISS will open, and at 7.45 PM, the new crew members will be welcomed.
Ms. Barnawi, 33, chatted in real time while traveling to the orbiting station with her colleagues in the Dragon capsule for an eight-day stay. “Hello from outer space,” the research lab
Being able to see Earth from this spacecraft feels incredible. Thanks to our Saudi Arabian nation, its leaders, King Salman, and the forward-thinking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, we are experiencing microgravity here.
“Special thanks to my wonderful family, friends, and grandmother.
“And to everyone else, the future is really bright. I want you to have big dreams, have confidence in yourself, and have faith in other people.
The astronauts will join Sultan Al Neyadi, a six-month missionary from the United Arab Emirates, after they reach the ISS.
Three Arabs will be present in space at once as a result, which is a record number.
During the live webcast, Mr. Al Qarni stated that he thought their entry into space was “historic for every Saudi.”
He stated, “I can’t help but think that it’s the beginning of a great journey for all of us as I look outside into space.”
The four crew members are taking part in the privately organized Axiom 2 expedition, which was organized by the Houston-based business Axiom Space.
During their time in orbit, the astronauts will conduct about 20 experiments, 14 of which were supplied to Ms. Barnawi and Mr. Al Qarni by Saudi experts.
Ms. Barnawi will conduct an experiment requested by the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh using her ten years of experience in stem cell research.
It entails researching how human immune cells react inflamatorily in microgravity.
She will look into modifications to the genetic material known as mRNA, which instructs the body how to produce proteins.
A cloud seeding experiment will also be carried out by the Saudi astronauts.
They will use a reaction chamber to evaluate cloud-seeding strategies.