Saudi Astronaut Crew Returns from Space Station 

Commander Peggy Whitson, pilot John Shoffner, and mission specialists Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi representing Saudi Arabia pose before the planned Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) launch to the International Space Station at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, US May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Commander Peggy Whitson, pilot John Shoffner, and mission specialists Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi representing Saudi Arabia pose before the planned Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) launch to the International Space Station at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, US May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
TT

Saudi Astronaut Crew Returns from Space Station 

Commander Peggy Whitson, pilot John Shoffner, and mission specialists Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi representing Saudi Arabia pose before the planned Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) launch to the International Space Station at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, US May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Commander Peggy Whitson, pilot John Shoffner, and mission specialists Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi representing Saudi Arabia pose before the planned Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) launch to the International Space Station at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, US May 21, 2023. (Reuters)

The team of Saudi astronauts, including the first Arab woman sent into orbit, splashed down safely off Florida on Tuesday night, capping an eight-day research mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying the Saudis and two Americans parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, after a 12-hour return flight and blazing re-entry plunge through Earth's atmosphere.

The splashdown was carried live by a joint webcast presented by SpaceX and the company behind the mission, Axiom Space.

It concluded the second space station mission organized, equipped and trained entirely by Axiom, a 7-year-old Houston-based venture headed by NASA's former ISS program manager.

The Axiom 2 crew was led by retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, 63, who holds the US record for most time spent in orbit with 665 days in space over three long-duration missions to the ISS, including 10 spacewalks. She now serves as Axiom's director of human spaceflight.

"That was a phenomenal ride. We really enjoyed all of it," Whitson radioed to mission controllers moments after splashdown.

Ax-2's designated pilot was John Shoffner, 67, an aviator, race car driver and investor from Alaska.

Rounding out the crew as mission specialists were the first two astronauts from Saudi Arabia to fly aboard a private spacecraft - Ali Al-Qarni, 31, a fighter pilot for the Royal Saudi Air Force; and Rayyanah Barnawi, 34, a biomedical scientist in cancer stem-cell research.

Barnawi is the first woman from the Arab world ever launched into Earth orbit and the first Saudi woman to fly in space.

In August 2022, Sara Sabry became the first Arab woman and the first Egyptian to fly to space on a brief suborbital ride operated by the Blue Origin astro-tourist venture of Jeff Bezos.

California-based SpaceX, founded by Twitter owner and Tesla Inc electric carmaker CEO Elon Musk, supplied the Falcon 9 rocket and crew capsule that ferried Axiom's team to and from orbit and controlled the flight.

NASA furnished the launch site at its Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and assumed responsibility for the Axiom crew during their stay aboard the space station, orbiting some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.



Jeddah Season's 'City Walk' Area Offers Smart Bracelets to Its Visitors

City Walk is one of the main areas of the 2024 Jeddah Season - SPA
City Walk is one of the main areas of the 2024 Jeddah Season - SPA
TT

Jeddah Season's 'City Walk' Area Offers Smart Bracelets to Its Visitors

City Walk is one of the main areas of the 2024 Jeddah Season - SPA
City Walk is one of the main areas of the 2024 Jeddah Season - SPA

The City Walk area has introduced smart wristbands for visitors during the 2024 Jeddah season, specifically designed for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

According to SPA, these wristbands carry the data and contact information of their companions, making it easy to communicate and locate them.
Visitors can purchase these wristbands from specialized staff at the entry gates. Each wristband contains a QR code that can be scanned with a mobile camera to display the registered contact information.
City Walk is one of the main areas of the 2024 Jeddah Season and it offers a variety of entertainment activities and events, including motor and skill games, "Cairo Nights," and "China City" areas. Additionally, it features numerous Arab plays that are very popular among visitors.