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Saudi Arabia’s first astronauts return home after historic scientific mission to space

Astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali AlQarni arrived in Saudi Arabia amidst celebrations and an official welcome home.

They have accomplished the country’s successful and historic scientific mission to space aboard the ISS.

They have finished their quarantine and conducted all the medical tests required to evaluate the effects of microgravity on the human body.

H.E. Al Swaha (Minister of Communications, Space & Technology) and H.E. Al Tamimi (Governor of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Communications, Space, & Technology Commission) welcomed the Saudi Arabian astronauts at King Khalid International Airport.

Rayyanah and Ali returned to their homeland with the results of 14 scientific pioneering experiments conducted at the ISS which will contribute to science globally and enhance the Kingdom’s global position within the field of space exploration, inspiring future generations.

Three of the experiments were educational awareness experiments involving 12,000 Saudi students on the ground across 47 different locations in the Kingdom via a live feed. A team of Saudi Scientists and researchers will receive the 92 sample results of the 14 experiments.

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA) congratulated Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali AlQarni on their safe return to homeland and praised their accomplishments.

It stated that the two astronauts are now an example to follow for the next Saudi generation, they have set the pace for the growth and development of the nation’s position in the space sector.

The trip’s global scientific accomplishments will be remembered as a historic moment of national pride and a milestone that would have not been possible without the support of the Crown Prince, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Space Council, thanks to whom, the Kingdom has now set foot into the realm of space.

SSA underlined the importance of the astronauts’ mission to space and the astronaut program – both now a source of inspiration for the Kingdom’s future generation and the whole Arab world.

With Rayyanah Barnawi as the first ever Arab woman to fly into space, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now one of the few countries to have had two astronauts from the same nationality simultaneously on board the ISS.

The two Saudi astronauts, Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali AlQarni, and the AX2 space mission crew, returned to earth on 31st of May, when their space craft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.

Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni (center) with Mariam Fardous (left) and Ali Alghamdi (right) as backups. Credit: Saudi Space Commission

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