Saudi astronauts return to kingdom after successful mission to ISS

Barnawi and Al-Qarni returned to Earth on May 31 after spending eight days on the ISS.

Riyadh: Saudi Arabian astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni returned to the Kingdom on Friday, after a successful mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The duo returned to the kingdom with fellow Saudi astronauts Maryam Firdous and Ali Al-Ghamdi from Florida, who were there as backup specialists on the AX-2 mission.

Thirty-three-old Barnawi and 31-year-old Al-Qarni returned to Earth on May 31 after spending eight days on the ISS.

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During their time in space, they conducted more than 20 experiments and research projects on therapeutic applications of nanomaterials, including drug delivery, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.

They conducted three kite trials with 12,000 school students from 47 districts across the country.

The two astronauts were launched into space towards the International Station on May 21 from Launch Complex “39A” at the Kennedy Space Center of the American Space Agency “NASA”, on a journey that took about 15 hours.

Barnawi was the first Arab woman to go on a space mission.

Their trip comes 40 years after the kingdom sent its first citizen into space, Prince Sultan bin Salman, on a NASA space shuttle.

On Wednesday, following the success of the space mission, Saudi Arabia renamed the Saudi Space Commission and designated it as an agency – the Saudi Space Agency (SSA) – after approval by the cabinet.

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