Private mission carrying Saudi astronauts launches to ISS

22 May 2023
2023-05-22 11:32

The second-ever private mission to the International Space Station (ISS), organized by Axiom Space, blasted off from Florida Sunday, carrying the first two Saudi astronauts to travel to the orbiting laboratory.  RayyanahBarnawi, a breast cancer researcher, is the first Saudi woman to voyage into space and is joined on the mission by fellow Saudi Ali Al-Qarni, a fighter pilot.

The crew took off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida at 5:37 pm.  The team also includes Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who will be making her fourth flight to the ISS, and John Shoffner, a businessman from Tennessee who is serving as pilot. The crew is due to spend around 10 days on board the ISS.

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