Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi returned to Riyadh on Friday, roughly two weeks after concluding their historic scientific mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Al-Qarni and Barnawi were supported in their mission from Earth by Saudi astronauts Mariam Fardous and Ali Al-Ghamdi.
The Saudi astronauts were greeted upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh by a number of officials, including the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Space Agency, Engineer Abdullah Al-Swaha.
The Saudi astronauts of the AX-2 crew have concluded their scientific mission and returned to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon on May 31, after spending approximately ten days aboard the International Space Station.
Barnawi and Al Qarni entered the space station on May 22 as part of Axiom Space’s AX-2 mission.
Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, is notable for becoming the first Arab woman to embark on a space mission, while Al-Qarni, a fighter pilot, made history as the second Saudi astronaut to travel into space.
During their time in the orbiting laboratory, the AX-2 astronauts successfully carried out over twenty STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) outreach engagements, more than twenty research studies in microgravity, and eight media events.
In addition, as part of their scientific mission, the Saudi astronauts conducted fourteen innovative scientific experiments, including six experiments on the brain and nervous system, four experiments on immune cells, and one experiment on water seeding technology.
According to the Saudi Space Agency, the outcomes of the experiments conducted by Barnawi and Al-Qarni will benefit humanity and strengthen Saudi Arabia’s position in the disciplines of space and science.