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First Female Saudi Astronaut To Join International Space Station

Saudi Arabia will send a male and female astronaut to the ISS in Q2 of 2023.



first female saudi astronaut to join the international space station
Saudi Space Commission

Saudi Arabia has officially announced that it will send the first female Saudi astronaut to the International Space Station in Q2 2023 as part of a two-person team. The mission follows in the footsteps of the neighbouring United Arab Emirates which became the first Arab nation to send a citizen into space, back in 2019.

Rayyanah Barnawi and teammate Ali AlQarni will join the crew of the AX-2 space mission in a historic flight that will launch from the USA. Meanwhile, the Saudi Human Spaceflight Program will commence the training of two further astronauts, Mariam Fardous and Ali AlGamdi, for the mission.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hopes the mission will bolster human spaceflight capabilities and help the country benefit from the opportunities provided by being an active participant in the space industry. An official statement explained that the flight would be “contributing to scientific research that serves the interests of humans in essential fields such as health, sustainability, and space technology.”

Also Read: A First Glimpse Of Dubai’s Air Taxis Flying Past Local Landmarks

As well as boosting research and development in space-based innovation, The Saudi Human Spaceflight Program will also aid new graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). According to the Saudi Space Commission, the mission to the ISS will make the country one of only a handful to simultaneously bring two astronauts of the same nationality to the International Space Station.

The Spaceflight Program contributes to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a unique transformative economic and social reform blueprint. The AX-2 mission will help to further the country’s plans for the future and enable Saudi innovation to take center stage in the global, connected economy.


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Binance Receives Virtual Assets License To Operate In Dubai

As its user base nears 200 million, CEO Richard Teng believes crypto adoption will soar over the next half of the decade.



binance receives virtual assets license to operate in dubai

Global crypto exchange Binance has been granted a full operational license in Dubai, in a move that’s expected to accelerate digital asset adoption and strengthen the UAE’s regulatory landscape.

The virtual asset service provider license (VASP) was granted by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and will allow Binance to extend its current range of services to retail investors, the company announced yesterday.

The move by Dubai authorities will be critical to Binance’s strategy of growing its user base globally. The crypto exchange expects to pass the 200 million user mark “quite shortly”, according to Richard Teng, the company’s CEO.

Once that milestone is achieved, Binance will have around twice as many users as rival platform Coinbase. Meanwhile,, another popular exchange with 80 million users, received a Dubai VASP license last week.

“We’re seeing much greater institutional adoption and institutional money coming into this space [along with] much greater regulatory clarity and a lot more jurisdictions approving [digital asset] products that bring in new investor classes,” Binance’s Richard Tang explained, adding: “As of now, we stand at about 5% crypto adoption globally, but that will become much faster moving forward”.

Also Read: Microsoft Invests $1.5 Billion In Abu Dhabi AI Tech Firm G42

Dubai and the UAE are extremely supportive of technologies like digital assets, and have already launched initiatives to boost adoption. The UAE has ambitious plans to become a world leader in the crypto economy of the future, with Dubai in particular being noteworthy for passing a new law to regulate virtual assets to support investors and exchanges.

“Global crypto regulation is currently showing diverging signs. Some developed countries have long suffered from crypto-related frauds and illegal exchanges. On the other hand, emerging nations like the UAE and Singapore have enacted crypto laws at faced pace,” said Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer of Dubai-based Century Financial.

As the UAE gears up to become one of the fastest-growing crypto capitals worldwide, investors and talent are flocking to places like Dubai. During 2023, the Emirates as a whole realized $204 million in capital gains from cryptocurrency investments, according to blockchain data analysts Chainalysis.

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