After docking their capsule with the International Space Station, the four astronauts, including a Saudi woman and a Saudi woman, entered the International Space Station. The newcomers were welcomed by the other members of the station and made touching remarks.
A SpaceX capsule docked Monday at the International Space Station, carrying four passengers, including two Saudis, as part of a special mission organized by the American company, Axiom Space.
Two hours after docking, the capsule opened and the four passengers entered the International Space Station, where they joined the seven astronauts there (three Russians, three Americans and an Emirati).
The Saudi scientist, Rayana Bernawi, and her compatriot, Ali Al-Qarni, who is essentially a military pilot, became the first Saudi citizens to participate in a mission to the International Space Station.
“The flight was comfortable,” said mission leader Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who has previously participated in missions to the International Space Station.
In remarks transmitted directly by audio and video, the station commander, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Yerokopiev, said that he welcomed the arrivals and congratulated the Saudi team, adding that he was sure that they would achieve impressive achievements in the future.
Saudi team member Ali Al-Qarni said: “Thank you all for the great welcome. It is a great honor and privilege for me to be here and meet you all.”
As for Rayana Barnawi, she added: “I do not only represent myself, but I represent the hopes and dreams of everyone at home, everyone in the region. We are here meeting with different cultures, and this is international cooperation. It shows how space brings us all together.”
On Sunday, the SpaceX rocket launched from Florida, at a speed of 28,000 km above Earth, towards the International Space Station, on a journey of approximately 16 hours.
This mission, called X-2, is the second fully private mission to the International Space Station, after a first mission in April 2022.
The crew spends ten days aboard the International Space Station, where they are supposed to conduct about twenty scientific tests during their stay, one of which is related to studying the behavior of stem cells in weightlessness.