Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it would undertake a training programme in order to send its own astronauts, including a woman, into space in 2019. As part of its extensive Vision 2030 strategy to overhaul its economy and lessen its reliance on oil, the monarchy is actively encouraging science and technology.
The initiative, which is supported by Saudi Arabia’s popular Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also asks for more women to be employed in the traditionally Muslim nation. The ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 programme, which includes the Saudi Astronaut Program, “will send Saudi astronauts into space to assist better serve humanity,” according to a statement from the Saudi Space Commission. A Saudi woman will be one of the astronauts, marking a first for the country by travelling to space thereby creating history for the country.
In November, the UAE intends to launch its first lunar rover. The UAE and Japan, which is contributing the lunar lander, would become the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to send a spacecraft to the moon’s surface if the moon mission is successful.