Watch: Saudi astronauts splash down on Earth after 10 days in space

Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al Qarni conducted 14 scientific and research experiments at International Space Station

By Web Desk

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Published: Wed 31 May 2023, 7:25 AM

Last updated: Wed 31 May 2023, 7:52 AM

Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al Qarni concluded their 10-day historic mission on the International Space Station (ISS) and returned to Earth after their successful mission.

Axiom Space announced their arrival on Twitter and wrote: "The Dragon spacecraft successfully splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, marking the end of their mission to the International Space Station. Teams are currently working to return the spacecraft safely to the recovery ship."

The astronauts conducted 14 scientific and research experiments aboard the International Space Station during their stay.

On Monday, Barnawi and Al Qarni and their American colleagues, Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner, who make up the four-person crew dubbed the Axiom-2 mission, finished all their science and media outreach events and packed the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for their return home.

The SpaceX Dragon began the return journey, which takes about 12 hours before reaching the water, announcing the end of the Ax-2 space mission launched by Saudi Arabia on May 22 as the first Saudi scientific mission toward space.

Saudi astronaut Rayyanah Barnawi became the first Arab female astronaut in space. She is accompanied by fellow astronaut Ali Alqarni, making Saudi Arabia one of the few countries to send astronauts of the same nationality on a space mission.

Farewell ISS

Barnawi delivered a heartfelt speech from space on Monday, saying “every story comes to an end.” She initially began her speech in Arabic, when she thanked UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, who is also aboard the ISS.

Choking with tears while giving her speech, she paused to take a breath before beginning once again in English.

"Every story comes to an end," she said softly, after clearing her throat. "This is only the beginning of a new era for our country and our region," Barnawi said, as tears rolled down her face.


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