Kopar Khairane

First Arab Woman In Orbit Astronaut Team Returns From Space Station

The first Arab woman to be part of an astronaut crew has safely returned to Earth after an eight-day research mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

A crew of two Americans and two Saudis, including the first Arab woman taken into space, splashed down safely off Florida on Tuesday night, according to a Reuters report.

It said that following a 12-hour return trip and a fiery re-entry dive through Earth's atmosphere, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying them parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico off the shore of Panama City, Florida.

The mission's sponsor, Axiom Space, and SpaceX jointly broadcast a live webcast of the splashdown. It was the second space station trip that Axiom, a 7-year-old Houston-based company led by a former ISS programme manager for NASA, organised, outfitted, and trained solely at private cost.

Peggy Whitson, a veteran NASA astronaut who has spent 665 days in space during three lengthy deployments to the International Space Station (ISS), including 10 spacewalks, was in charge of the Axiom 2 crew, according to the statement. She presently holds the position of director of human spaceflight at Axiom.

“What a fantastic ride. We truly appreciated everything,” Whitson was quoted as saying in the article.

“John Shoffner, 67, an Alaskan investor, racing car racer, and authorised pilot for Ax-2. The first two Saudi Arabian astronauts to travel on a private spacecraft, Ali Alqarni, 31, a fighter pilot for the Royal Saudi Air Force, and Rayyanah Barnawi, 34, a biomedical scientist working on cancer stem-cell research, completed the crew as mission experts, it claimed.

According to the article, Barnawi is the first Arab woman to be sent into Earth orbit and the first Saudi woman to travel in space. This accomplishment happened in June 2018, only five months after Saudi women were granted the privilege to drive.

The Falcon 9 rocket and crew capsule that carried Axiom's team to and from space were provided by California-based SpaceX, which was established by Twitter founder and CEO of Tesla Inc.

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