Saturday, May 27, 2023
Saudi Arabia's first female astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi, has been spending the time of her life after she ventured into space on a flight from Earth.
The young astronaut is currently on a private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) organised by Axiom Space along with a group of astronauts one of which is a Saudi fighter pilot — Ali Al-Qarni.
Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, became the first Saudi woman to journey into space in the second-ever private mission to the ISS from a flight launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The flight marks a significant milestone in space exploration.
During her time in the space, Barnawai is seen actively sharing videos for all who are following her unprecedented journey. She is sometimes seen in a group video with fellow astronauts in space and other times showing off her grandma's earrings inside the space station.
In her latest tweet, Barnawi has posted a video of a sparkling Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, right from the space.
In her video shot miles away from Earth, the Grand Mosque is seen shinning bright with the city's appearance resembling glittering veins captured from the space.
Taking to her Twitter, the astronaut wrote: "After I finished my experiments for today, we happened to pass over Makkah Al-Mukarramah."
"Light upon light," she added in her tweet.
In the video, the young astronaut can be heard saying that the whole kingdom is shining.
"Look, I'm trying to show you. Here you can see Makkah," she says, zooming the camera towards the twinkling spot from space.
"This is the Holy Mosque. Look how bright Makkah is. We already passed Madinah. Praise be to Allah," she says in the video.
The Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) crew embarked on their journey aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral earlier this month.
Alongside Barnawi and Al-Qarni, the crew includes Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who is making her fourth flight to the ISS, and John Shoffner, a businessman from Tennessee serving as the pilot.
During a press conference, Barnawi expressed her immense pleasure and honour at being the first Saudi woman astronaut. She spoke of her excitement about the research she will conduct in space and her eagerness to share her experiences with children.