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Saudi Arabia lets its first woman astronaut into space

A scientist specializing in cancer stem-cell research is Saudi Arabia’s first woman astronaut to head to the International Space Station (ISS) where she will focus on advancing breast cancer research.

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Rayyanah Barnawi, 34, is a mission specialist on the all-private astronaut Ax-2 mission, run by Axiom Space, the global commercial space station, where various medical experiments will be conducted.

The space launch, expected to take place on Sunday, should last for eight days, and includes another Saudi astronaut, Ali al-Qarni.

Saudis in Riyadh have expressed their pride in their country as the two astronauts prepare for their space launch.

Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia continue to be strongly restricted despite major improvements over recent years.

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