Saudi Space Mission: All There Is to Know
Last Updated on November 9, 2023 by Ameer Hamza
Space exploration has been at the forefront of the strategies deployed by the world’s developed countries. Many national governments have used space exploration as a tool to advance the frontiers of science. Saudi Arabia is set to join the league of these countries.
The Saudi Arabian Space Commission recently announced the Axiom Mission (tagged as “Ax-2), which will be launched by May 8, 2023. This planned space mission will be revolutionary for many reasons. First, it will be Saudi Arabia’s first space journey. It will also represent the first time an Arab female will land on the International Space Station.
The astronauts expected to embark on the mission have been announced as Ali al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi. The duo will be joined by Peggy Whitson, Axiom Space’s Director of Human Spaceflight, and John Shoffner, the planned pilot. According to the Saudi Space Commission, the selected astronauts have been undergoing intensive training to prepare them for life in space. This training involves a twelve-day space simulation at the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) center in Houston, United States.
What to Expect from the Space Mission
As earlier stated, many countries have embarked on space missions to discover the possibility of life outside Earth and to aid scientific research. The Saudi Space Mission is set to be even more impactful to science. Based on the report from the Space Commission, eleven experiments will be conducted in space. The human health experiment is one of them.
The primary objective of the human health experiment is to understand the possible impacts of space presence on human health. The tests will reportedly deploy innovative neuroscience tools such as measuring the brain’s electrical activity and measuring consistent changes in the optic nerve. These tests are expected to enhance the safety of future spaceflights and to improve health monitoring during space travel.
Another experiment set to be carried out in space is the artificial rain experiment. This experiment involves simulating the cloud-seeding process by condensing water vapor on plankton and salt atoms in microgravity. This experiment is expected to improve our ability to artificially create liveable conditions for humans.
However, the educational awareness initiatives are the most remarkable plans for the Saudi Space Mission. According to the Saudi Space Commission, the International Space Station will conduct three educational awareness studies targeted at students across Saudi Arabia. These initiatives will be conducted in partnership with institutions like the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education and Riyadh schools.
The primary expectation for these initiatives is to help students understand the effects of experiments in the space environment. More importantly, the students will be able to interact and conduct experiments with the space crew in real-time.
Saudi Arabia’s Space Mission undoubtedly sets a clear example for other Middle Eastern countries. Thus, it will be unsurprising if more Middle Eastern countries delve into space exploration in the coming years.