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Saudi Arabia Announces Plans to Send its First Female Astronaut to Space

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Saudi Arabia is furthering its position in the space race, with women taking the front seat. On Thursday, the Kingdom announced plans for a new mission program, as part of which it will send a female astronaut to space for the first time.

A crew will be formed next year, trained to undertake long- and short-term space flights, including one Saudi female pilot and astronaut, thus marking a historic moment for the Kingdom. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom also plans to launch its National Space Strategy in the coming months, to reveal programs and initiatives that aim to serve humanity from space.

The new plans are a significant part of the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 and will see Saudi make strides in spacefaring as UAE continues to develop its missions including sending the first Arab astronaut to space, sending the Hope Probe to Mars, and having a female Emirati astronaut, Nora Al Matrooshi, in training. However, the Kingdom’s reach for space dates back to 1985, when Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud became the first Saudi Arabian citizen, the first Arab, the first Muslim, and the first member of a royal family to travel into space.

The announcement of the new program comes after the Saudi Space Commission, represented by chief executive Dr Mohammed Al Tamimi convened at the International Astronautical Congress—one of the world’s largest space conferences—in Paris this week.

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