Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — After splashing down safely off Florida on Tuesday night, Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni arrived at the Houston Airport where they started undergoing the rehabilitation phase after returning from the microgravity environment.
Upon their arrival at the airport, the astronauts were greeted by a number of their family members, who exchanged greetings and reassured of their health conditions. They congratulated them on their safe return, capping a 10-day research mission aboard the International Space Station.
The initial medical examination of the crew showed that their condition is stable as they did not face any challenges regarding adapting to the Earth’s environment. The crew will undergo intensive medical observation and specialized rehabilitation programs during the coming period.
Early on Wednesday morning, the Saudi Space Commission announced the success of the mission of Barnawi and Al-Qarni. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying the Saudis and two Americans parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, 12 hours after undocking from the orbiting lab. The splashdown was carried live by a joint webcast presented by SpaceX and the company behind the mission, Axiom Space.
Barnawi became the first Arab woman to go on a space mission when she launched with her colleague Al Qarni on a trip to the orbital outpost last Monday. They were accompanied by retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner.
Saudi Arabia’s first scientific journey into space received tremendous media attention and interactivity with the participation of science institutions, research centers, and social media circles. Around 12,000 Saudi school students participated in interactive scientific experiments, through direct radio linkage with the Saudi astronauts.