SpaceX sends the first Saudi woman into space to land on the International Space Station
Rayyanah Barnawi, a stem cell researcher, was accompanied by Ali al-Qarni, a Royal Saudi Air Force fighter pilot, on the flight, which was sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government.
The couple is the first member of their country to ride a rocket since a Saudi prince launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1985.
You will be greeted at the station by an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.
“Hello from space! It feels great to see Earth from this capsule,” Barnawi said after settling into orbit.
Al-Qarni added: “When I look into space, I can’t help but think that this is just the beginning of a great journey for all of us.”
The rest of the crew consisted of John Shoffner, former driver and owner of a sports car racing team competing in Europe, and companion Peggy Whitson, the station’s first female commander, who holds the US record for longest time in space: 665 days and counting.
“It was a phenomenal ride,” Whitson said after reaching orbit as her crew members clapped their hands in delight.
It is the second private flight to the space station organized by Houston-based company Axiom Space – the first was operated last year by three businessmen along with another retired NASA astronaut.
The company plans to add its own rooms to the station in a few years, eventually removing them to create a self-contained outpost that can be rented.
Axiom won’t say how much Shoffner and Saudi Arabia are paying for the proposed 10-day mission. The company previously announced a ticket price of $55 million each.
NASA’s current price list puts costs at $2,000 per person per day for groceries and up to $1,500 for sleeping bags and other gear.
Eight minutes after launch, SpaceX’s first stage launch vehicle landed back at Cape Canaveral — a special treat for the launch-day crowd, which included about 60 Saudis. “It’s been a very, very exciting day,” said Axiom’s Matt Ondler.
The four should reach the space station in their capsule on Monday morning; They’ll spend just over a week there before returning home on a waterslide off the Florida coast.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/first-saudi-woman-rayyanah-barnawi-space-spacex-elon-musk-rocket-iss-b1082692.html SpaceX sends the first Saudi woman into space to land on the International Space Station