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Saudi Astronauts Will Take Off On May 9

PARIS, France - The launch date for two Saudi Arabian astronauts to head to the International Space Station has been revealed.

Rayyanah Barnawi, who will be the first Arab woman in space, and Ali Al Qarni will blast off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA on May 9.

The launch is scheduled for 5:43 AM Saudi time.

Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, and fighter pilot Al Qarni will join up with UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi on the International Station, for a 10-day mission.

Ahead of becoming the first Arab woman in space Barnawi said: ''We are all excited and proud as Saudi astronauts to announce the launch date of our journey into space in May. We look forward to completing the objectives of the kingdom's space programme, which will contribute to achieving future explorations in various fields''.

The news was announced at a joint briefing from NASA and Axion Space.

They will be joined on the mission by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and US pilot John Shoffner.

The four-member crew will travel to the ISS abord a SpaceX Dragon capsule. Axion is a private US space company making only its second mission.



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