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Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi, Ali Alqarni back in the Kingdom after successful space mission

The Saudi astronauts are welcomed home at King Khaled International Airport. (SPA)

Saudi astronauts Ali Alqarni, Rayyanah Barnawi, Mariam Fardous, and Ali Al-Ghamdi have returned to the Kingdom Saturday morning after a successful scientific mission at the International Space Station.

Alqarni and Barnawi ­– the first Arab woman to orbit Earth – returned to Earth on May 31 after an eight-day stay at the space station where they performed 14 research projects on microgravity, three of which were kite experiments with 12,000 school students from 47 locations across the Kingdom via satellite.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying them, as well as American astronauts Peggy Whitson John Shoffner, parachuted down onto the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, after a 12-hour return flight and re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Saudi astronauts Mariam Fardous, Rayyanah Barnawi, Ali Alqarni and Ali Al-Ghamdi. (Twitter: @saudispace)

Rayyanah Barnawi, 33, and Ali Al Qarni, 31, returned to Earth last week from their historic trip to space after spending eight days on the ISS. Ali Alghamdi, 31, and Mariam Fardous, 38 were the back-up astronauts for the mission.

The scientific mission will be of significant benefit to humanity and will ensure the Kingdom leading roles and an avant-garde position in space exploration, a statement from the Saudi Space Agency noted during the astronauts’ arrival at King Khaled International Airport.

The agency also said that the leading achievements and contributions of the Saudi space mission are a source of pride for the nation all with the support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the statement added.



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