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Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch an astronaut into space

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In Science and Space: On Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced that it would launch a training program with the aim of sending its astronauts, including one woman, into space next year.

The plan, backed by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also calls for greater integration of women into the conservative Muslim country’s workforce. Saudi Arabia lifted its driving ban on women in 2018.

The kingdom is actively promoting science and technology as part of its Vision 2030 plan to restructure its economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

“The Saudi Astronaut Program, which is an integral part of the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, will send Saudi astronauts into space to help better serve humanity” the Saudi Aerospace Commission said in a statement. “One of the astronauts will be a Saudi woman, whose space mission will represent the first history of the Kingdom.”

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