Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered support and encouragement to Saudi Arabia’s Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) crew, which includes the Kingdom’s first female astronaut to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) next month.
The Crown Prince met with Rayana Bernawi, Ali al-Qarni, Mariam Fardous and Ali al-Ghamdi ahead of the launch of the scientific mission, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
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The Kingdom will make history with this mission which includes Bernawi as the first Saudi, Muslim and Arab woman to fly to space, and al-Qarni as the first Saudi astronaut to arrive at the ISS, SPA said.
Fardous and al-Ghamdi have been trained on all the mission requirements that are part of the Saudi Space Commission’s spaceflight program.
Bernawi and al-Qarni will be part of the four-person Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) space crew aiming to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 8. The mission is an accomplishment that aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The Crown Prince congratulated the astronauts for passing the qualifying program while underlying the importance of the “space sector as a major pillar in enhancing the Kingdom’s global competitiveness, emphasizing at the same time the significance of space exploration in serving science and humanity,” SPA said.
The Crown Prince told Bernawi and al-Qarni that they reflect on the abilities and ambitions of the Saudi people, adding that the “Saudi people are pinning great hopes on [them] as ambassadors and representatives of the Kingdom at the ISS in a mission that has noble objectives to empower mankind, protect the planet and open new horizons for research in health and sustainable environment.”
The astronauts expressed their full readiness for the mission while promising to “leave their mark in space exploration and research.”
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