USA: First commercial orbital flight launched

From Cape Canaveral, Florida, a Falcon 9 rocket took off on Sunday with four participants on the first private flight to the International Space Station (ISS) organized by the American company Axiom Space. Among the participants of the flight are two Saudis, a man and a woman.

The first Saudi female astronaut Rayana Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni are accompanied by American astronaut Peggy Whitson, who has already been on board the ISS three times, and American businessman John Shoffner.

The Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule, manufactured by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, took off from the Kennedy Space Center Kennedy at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 17.40 local time (23.40 Polish time). The mission has been designated Ax-2 and its private participants will pay several million dollars for the flight and stay on the ISS.

The four astronauts are scheduled to reach the ISS on Monday at around 15.24 Polish time. They will spend 10 days on board the station.

As SpaceX reported, one of the stages of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth and landed at the designated location, which – as it was emphasized – “had taken place for the first time in a manned flight.”

Rayana Barnawi, who is a scientist, stated at a pre-launch press conference that being the first Saudi female astronaut and representing the region “is a great honor and honor for her.”

Ali Al-Qarni is a military pilot and flies fighter jets. Before the launch, he said that “his pion has always been exploring the unknown.” “I admired the sky and the stars, so this is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue this pion by flying among the stars.”

The first Saudi in space was Prince Sultan bin Salman, who in 1985 took part in the American orbital mission. (PAP)


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