The latest news comes as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, attempts to open up the conservative kingdom to the world.
A Saudi will be the first khaleeji woman astronaut to be sent on a space mission this year, authorities announced.
Rayyana Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni will go to the International Space Station (ISS) for ten days, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who will be making her fourth trip to the ISS, and Tennessee businessman John Shoffner, who will function as the pilot, will be accompanying them on the trip.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will lift the astronauts into space from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
By doing this, Saudi Arabia is following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, which in 2019 became the first Arab nation to send a person into space.
The latest news comes as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, more commonly known as MbS, attempts to open up the conservative kingdom to the world.
Women over the age of 21 are now able to travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission after a rule passed in 2019.
MbS has also attempted to ease prohibitions on women in other areas, including lifting a driving ban in 2018, in a bid to open up the conservative kingdom. However, rights groups say such moves cannot overshadow the imprisonment of women’s rights activists.
Most recently, a Saudi female student and mother of three received the longest prison sentence – 34 years – to ever be brought against any activist for allegedly retweeting tweets from known activists and dissidents.