First Saudi woman astronaut will go to space in 2023
It seems that the Middle-Eastern space push has caught some real steam. Saudi Arabia is the latest to join the party. The country has announced its first astronaut program. As part of the program, it plans to send at least one woman astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023. The mission will be organized by US-based Axiom Space.
- UAE has had the Arab world's leading space program for a while. It seems that Saudi is done playing second fiddle to the Middle-Eastern space orchestra.
- Considering that women did not have the right to drive in the kingdom until 2018, this new development needs to be appreciated.
- This could prove to be a huge boost for women's rights in the country.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made a couple of historic announcements. One, the beginning of its first-ever astronaut training program, and two, its mission to the ISS in 2023. The country has partnered with Axiom Space, a Houston-based private space company, for its mission next year. As part of the mission, the country's astronauts will be aboard a SpaceX capsule.
The group of astronauts who will take a flight to the ISS will have at least one woman, announced Saudi Arabia. In a country where women have traditionally enjoyed fewer rights than men, this announcement has great historical significance. This group will be the first from the country to go to space after Prince Sultan Bin Salman Al Saud flew in 1985.
The Saudi Astronaut Program is part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's ambitious Vision 2030 program. The Saudi Space Commission is working together with Axiom Space to make the program's first mission a reality. The mission is slated to happen early next year. This will be Axiom's second private crewed mission after the Ax-1 earlier this year.
"The program will enable Saudi astronauts to conduct scientific experiments and research for the betterment of humanity..." said the Saudi Space Commission. Axiom Space's president added, "Space belongs to all of humanity, which is one of the reasons Axiom Space is pleased to welcome our new partnership with the Saudi Space Commission to train and fly Saudi astronauts, including the first female Saudi astronaut."