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Tunisia to send first female astronaut on space mission in 2024

Tunisia will be the second country after the United Arab Emirates to send its astronaut for a long-duration mission to space.
Photo credit: Strategika’s Twitter

Tunisia will send its first woman astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024, reported Russian news agency TASS.

Apart from being the first woman from Tunisia, the selected astronaut will also become the first African representative to launch on a long-duration mission to the space station.

The astronaut will be selected from a roster of eight female nominees, all of whom are fighter pilot graduates from the Borj El-Amri aviation school, eventually making them the first Tunisian and African astronauts to go into space.

The astronaut will fly to the orbital outpost as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between former Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin and ambassador to Russia, Tarak Ben Salem, in August 2021. Under this agreement, Russia will train the selected astronaut in its training facilities for spaceflights to the space station.

These eight candidates are currently undergoing medical examination following which six of them will be sent to Russia. In the final stages of the qualification process, Roscosmos will select two candidates, one of which will be part of the ISS crew whereas the other would serve as a backup member.

With its partnership with Tunisia, Russia will bring the North-African country into the space race. Tunisia, from where the Arab Spring movement originated in 2010, would join the UAE in becoming a pioneer in the space sector from Africa.