Saudi Arabia’s mission to the International Space Station next year aboard a SpaceX capsule will include a woman who would become the world’s first female Arab astronaut, according to Axiom Space, the U.S. company arranging the mission for the kingdom.
Neither Axiom nor the Saudi government provided the name for the female astronaut, who will be accompanied by another Saudi and two Americans as part of Axiom’s second private mission to the space station, slated for early 2023.
A U.S. official familiar with the mission said the Ax-2 passengers have yet to receive approval from a NASA-chaired panel of the space station’s international partners. Astronauts’ identities are not usually confirmed publicly until that panel provides approval.
Reuters first reported Axiom’s deal with Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, and that the mission is slated for early 2023 under a deal signed earlier this year.