saudi arabia: Saudi Arabia plans to send female astronaut to space in 2023

Saudi Arabia said Thursday it would launch a training program with the goal of sending its own astronauts, including a woman, into space next year. The kingdom is actively promoting science and technology as part of its far-reaching ‘Vision 2030’ plan to reform its economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

The plan, championed by Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also calls for greater integration of women into the conservative Muslim country’s workforce. Saudi Arabia lifted a long-standing driving ban on women in 2018.

“The Saudi Astronaut Program, which is an integral part of the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, will send Saudi astronauts into space to better serve humanity,” the Saudi Space Commission said in a statement.

“One of the astronauts will be a Saudi woman whose space mission will mark a historic first for the Kingdom.”

The first Arab, or Muslim, to go into space was Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman, a half-brother of the Crown Prince and an Air Force pilot who was part of the seven-man crew of NASA’s Discovery mission in 1985. He later served as head of the Saudi Space Commission from 2018 until last year, when he was appointed an advisor to King Salman.

Neighboring United Arab Emirates has the Arab world’s leading space program, having launched a probe into orbit of Mars in February 2021.

The UAE plans to launch its first lunar rover in November. If the lunar mission is successful, the United Arab Emirates and Japan, which is providing the lander, would join the ranks of the US, Russia and China as nations that have put a spacecraft on the lunar surface. saudi arabia: Saudi Arabia plans to send female astronaut to space in 2023

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