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Saudi Arabia to send first female astronaut to space in 2023

Axiom Space is working with Saudi Space Commission to send two astronauts from the kingdom, including the first Saudi woman to go into orbit.
Photo credit: Saudi Space Commission

Saudi Space Commission will send the first female astronaut to space in 2023 as part of its astronaut programme.

The new space programme will send a Saudi crew to space, marking a historical event for the country.

In an official press release outlining the new Saudi Astronaut Programme, the Kingdom highlighted the scientific focus of the initiative, which will prioritise scientific experiments and research in areas such as health, sustainability, and space technology. The Saudi Astronaut programme is part of the Kingdom’s larger National Space Strategy.

The programme is dedicated to train Saudi competent personnel to undertake long- and short-term space flights.

The mission will be organised by Houston-based space company Axiom Space. It is working with the Saudi Space Commission (SSC) for a future flight opportunity no earlier than 2023.

The partnership will bolster SSC’s exploration programme through the addition of a robust human spaceflight effort. Axiom Space will collaborate with SSC to train Saudi astronauts for human spaceflight and prepare them to conduct meaningful scientific research in space, while making use of cutting-edge space technologies and scientific innovations.

Axiom Space and SSC announced their epoch-making partnership to fly two Saudi astronauts to space, including the first female Saudi astronaut. Saudi Arabia is celebrating its first national astronaut programme dedicated to sending Saudi astronauts into space as a contribution to humanity’s progress, and in line with the progressive goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Michael Suffredini, Axiom Space’s President & CEO while attending the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris, said: “Space belongs to all of humanity, which is one of the reasons Axiom Space is pleased to welcome our new partnership with the Saudi Space Commission to train and fly Saudi astronauts, including the first female Saudi astronaut. This partnership highlights Axiom Space’s profound commitment to expand human spaceflight opportunities to a larger share of the international community, as well as to multiply scientific and technological development on Earth and in orbit.”

In the coming months, the Kingdom plans to launch its National Space Strategy, which will reveal space programmes and initiatives that aim to serve humanity from space.