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Saudi women board cars and head for space after that.

Saudi Arabia is getting ready to send the first female astronauts into orbit, four years after allowing women to drive. The Kingdom’s first astronaut training programme, which aims to prepare Saudi professionals for both long- and short-term space missions, was launched on Thursday.

The programme, which is a component of the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, will see a woman astronaut launch into space alongside male astronauts.

The Saudi Space Commission stated that the initiative ‘would enable Saudi astronauts to undertake scientific experiments and research for the development of humanity in important areas such as health, sustainability, and space technology.’

The astronaut programme, it continued, is a crucial component of Vision 2030 and will send ‘Saudi astronauts are going into space to help the human race. A Saudi woman will be one of the astronauts, marking a first for the country when she travels to space.’

In the upcoming months, the Arab nation also intends to unveil its National Space Strategy, which will outline space activities and programmes intended to benefit humanity from space. The nation has already secretly inked a contract with Houston’s Axiom Space, which organises and operates private spaceflights aboard American spacecraft for scientists and tourists, earlier this year.

Under the deal, two Saudi astronauts will ride SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to the space station for a roughly weeklong stay early next year, the sources said. The Saudis would be the first from their country to go into space aboard a private spacecraft.

The development makes UAE the second Arab country to launch an ambitious space program. With its successful voyage around the Moon, the UAE is still in front and is on track to send Rashid, a rover to the Moon, on a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket.


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