On Monday, SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, successfully launched four astronauts into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, USA. This historic mission included the first Saudi Arabian woman astronaut. The launch went smoothly as the Falcon-9 rocket lifted off with full power, propelling the Dragon spacecraft into space.
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- The crew for the SpaceX mission included Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Aqarni from Saudi Arabia, along with Commander Peggy Whitson and Pilot John Shoffner from the USA.
- The spacecraft, named Freedom, successfully separated from the rocket approximately 12 minutes after the launch.
- Rayyanah Barnawi expressed her honor and happiness in representing the dreams and hopes of Saudi women and the people of Saudi Arabia.
- The crew will reach the International Space Station (ISS) by Monday evening and spend over a week there before returning home with a planned splashdown off the Florida coast.
- This mission marks the first time since 1985 that Saudi astronauts have traveled to space, coincidentally being greeted at the ISS by an astronaut from the UAE.
Saudi Arabia Sponsored the Trip
- The Saudi government has sponsored the mission, partnering with Axiom Space, a company that facilitates private missions to space.
- The exact cost of the 10-day trip has not been disclosed, but previous packages have typically been around $55 million for individual passengers.
- NASA charges approximately $2,000 per person per day for food and up to $1,500 for sleeping bags and other gear.
- Saudi Arabia’s astronaut program, initiated in September 2022, aligns with its Vision 2030 goal of advancing space research.
- The inclusion of a Saudi Arabian woman astronaut on the mission, aboard the Dragon capsule, is expected to convey a powerful message to the liberal world, considering Saudi Arabia’s reputation as a conservative country.
- Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2002.
- It is headquartered in Hawthorne, California.
- SpaceX’s primary goal is to revolutionize space technology and enable the colonization of Mars.
- The company is known for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the Dragon spacecraft, which delivers cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).
- SpaceX made history by becoming the first privately-funded company to send a spacecraft, the Dragon, to the ISS in 2012.
- It has also achieved significant milestones in rocket reusability, landing and reusing boosters for multiple missions.
- The company’s Starship spacecraft is currently under development, aiming to carry humans and cargo to destinations beyond Earth, including the Moon and Mars.
- SpaceX has played a pivotal role in advancing commercial spaceflight and has secured contracts from NASA and private companies for satellite launches and other missions.
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