Saudi Arabia has launched an astronaut programme, state news agency SPA reported today, with the first journey to space set for 2023 carrying the country's first female astronaut.
The programme, launched by the Saudi Space Commission, will enable Saudi astronauts to conduct scientific experiments and research "for the betterment of humanity in priority areas such as health, sustainability and space technology", the news agency said.
The Saudi Astronaut Program is part of the kingdom's Vision2030 programme.
It added that "human space flights boost countries global leadership and competitiveness in areas such as science, engineering, and research and innovation."Earlier this year it was revealed that the UAE will send an astronaut on a long-term mission to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, becoming the first Arab state to do so.