Renowned as the first Arab woman astronaut, Rayannah Barnavi has successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), marking a significant milestone in her career. She is part of the Axiom Space’s second private mission, which commenced with the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the United States. BBC reports that Barnavi, a biomedical scientist hailing from Saudi Arabia, will focus her research on stem cells and breast cancer during her stay in the orbital laboratory. Specifically, she aims to investigate the inflammatory response of human immune cells in microgravity, building upon her prior work as a research lab technician at the Stem Cell and Tissue Re-engineering Programme of King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh.
In a video recorded from space before reaching the ISS, Barnavi shares an inspiring message to people worldwide: “The future is very bright. I would like you to dream big, believe in yourselves, and believe in humanity.” Joining her on this historic mission is Al Qarni, a Saudi fighter pilot. Al Arabiya reports his gratitude for the immense support and trust he has received from the Saudi community, highlighting the significance of this achievement.
The crew members of the Axiom Space mission, including Barnavi and Al Qarni, were greeted with enthusiasm by Peggy Whitson, the mission commander and former NASA astronaut who has previously made the voyage three times. The team, accompanied by American businessman John Shoffner, expressed their excitement to commence their work aboard the ISS. Following a 16-hour journey from Florida, the SpaceX rocket successfully docked, allowing the quartet to join the seven astronauts already present on the space station, comprising three Russians, three Americans, and an Emirati.
Rayannah Barnavi’s presence on the ISS as an Arab woman astronaut symbolizes a groundbreaking achievement for space exploration and serves as an inspiration to aspiring scientists worldwide. Her research endeavors will contribute to advancements in biomedical science and provide valuable insights into the effects of microgravity on human immune cells.
Re reported the article from the story originally published in The Indian express