Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni bid farewell to the International Space Station (ISS) as they boarded their spacecraft, preparing to return to Earth after successfully accomplishing the objectives of the Kingdom’s scientific mission.
The primary aim of the Kingdom’s mission was to contribute to scientific research for the benefit of humanity, leveraging the opportunities provided by the global space sector and its industries while also developing national capabilities in manned spaceflights.
Departing the ISS alongside the crew of the Ax-2 mission, which includes astronauts Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner, the Saudi astronauts participated in an official farewell ceremony organized by the ISS crew to bid farewell to the Ax-2 mission team.
With their gratitude and appreciation, Barnawi and Alqarni thanked the ISS crew for their support and cooperation throughout their journey, enabling the Saudi astronauts to accomplish their planned mission successfully.
The Saudi astronauts expressed their pride and appreciation for being part of this unique scientific experience, which was made possible through the Saudi Astronaut Program initiated by the Saudi Space Commission (SSC). The program aims to fulfil the Kingdom’s aspirations in the field of space and align with the ambitious goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 in advancing the space industry.
As the farewell ceremony concluded, the Saudi astronauts took commemorative photos with the ISS crew.
The SCC announced today the successful separation of the spacecraft carrying the two Saudi astronauts from the ISS at 17:50 Makkah time. The spacecraft is set to land in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean tomorrow, Wednesday, at five o’clock in the morning.
With the completion of the Saudi astronauts’ mission aboard the ISS, the Kingdom embarks on a new phase of space exploration and investment in specialized sciences. This aligns with Saudi Arabia’s plans and ambitions in the field of space exploration, aiming to strengthen its position among nations engaged in space endeavours and enhance its independent research capabilities.