‘My last night on Earth’: Saudi astronauts share insights at Misk Global Forum

Special ‘My last night on Earth’: Saudi astronauts share insights at Misk Global Forum
1 / 2
Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni were part of Axion Mission 2 and worked on 14 experiments in microgravity during their eight-day stay aboard the ISS. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Special ‘My last night on Earth’: Saudi astronauts share insights at Misk Global Forum
2 / 2
Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni were part of Axion Mission 2 and worked on 14 experiments in microgravity during their eight-day stay aboard the ISS. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Short Url
Updated 16 November 2023
Follow

‘My last night on Earth’: Saudi astronauts share insights at Misk Global Forum

‘My last night on Earth’: Saudi astronauts share insights at Misk Global Forum
  • Rayyanah Barnawi, Ali Alqarni recall historic space journey for Diriyah audience
  • Session shed light on the Kingdom’s advances in space exploration and the professional opportunities that can be untapped in the space industry

RIYADH: Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni offered insights into their historic journey into space as part of a panel discussion during the Misk Global Forum in Diriyah on Wednesday.

The session, titled “Unlimited Ambition,” was moderated by Saudi aerospace engineer Mishaal Ashemimry. 

It shed light on the Kingdom’s advances in space exploration and the professional opportunities that can be untapped in the space industry. 

Barnawi, the Kingdom’s first female astronaut, said that physical fitness, psychological health, technical and scientific skills, and exploratory skills are key areas to consider before heading into space. 

Describing the demanding training schedule in different countries, she said: “We were trained in Houston, which has an entire building consisting of the International Space Station; then California in SpaceX; then San Antonio, which has a gravity test … and then we moved to Japan to train on the Japanese module, and then Germany to train on the German module.”

Alqarni shared his thoughts on the night before leaving for the ISS. “It was my last night on Earth. It included a wide range of mixed emotions, and I was drinking my last coffee. I thought that this would be my last cup before I go.”  

The astronauts said they each called their family before boarding the spacecraft and undertaking the three-hour preparations for takeoff.

“In a few minutes, day turned into night at the speed of a missile, and a breakthrough was made, reaching space within seven minutes,” Alqarni said.  

Their first day in space included adjusting to living without gravity, and following a schedule that allowed them to carry out experiments from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. 

The duo were part of the Axion Mission 2 and worked on 14 experiments in microgravity during their eight-day stay aboard the ISS. 

Barnawi, with a decade of experience in stem cell research, carried out experiments on human immune cells and their inflammatory response in a microgravity environment.

The experiments were affiliated with the country’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, in cooperation with the Saudi Space Commission. The aim was to determine the response of immune cells and the effects of some treatments on inflammatory conditions, understand the biological changes occurring in a microgravity environment, and the activity of genes in immune cells exposed to inflammation over time.

The experiments were conducted under the supervision of the research team led by the head of King Faisal’s Department of Molecules and Research Scientists.

Alqarni also had a busy research program that entailed exploring cloud-seeding techniques in a microgravity environment. In a reaction chamber, Alqarni combined salt crystals with moist air to see if water droplets would form.


Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 
Updated 29 May 2024
Follow

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s continued acts of genocide in Rafah 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia condemned on Tuesday the Israeli forces’ continued “genocidal massacres against the Palestinian people without deterrence” by targeting the tents of defenseless Palestinian refugees in Rafah.

The Kingdom holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for what is happening in Rafah and all the occupied Palestinian territories, a foreign ministry statement read.

Israel’s military denied striking a tent camp west of the city of Rafah on Tuesday after Gaza health authorities said Israeli tank shelling had killed at least 21 people there, in what Israel has designated a civilian evacuation zone.

Earlier, defying an appeal from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Israeli tanks advanced to the heart of Rafah for the first time after a night of heavy bombardment, while Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognized a Palestinian state, a move that further deepened Israel’s international isolation.

Saudi Arabia reiterated that the Israeli forces’ blatant violation of all international and humanitarian laws and norms, amid the silence of the international community, exacerbates the unprecedented Palestinian humanitarian catastrophe, and puts the credibility of international legitimacy institution at stake.

“The Kingdom stresses the need for the international community to assume its responsibilities to stop the massacres against the Palestinian people and hold those responsible accountable,” the statement concluded.

- With Reuters. 


Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding

Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding
Updated 28 May 2024
Follow

Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding

Saudi Ministry of Media, Microsoft Arabia sign memorandum of understanding
  • Deal aims to advance media sector in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft Arabia in Riyadh on Tuesday covering several areas of cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Assistant Minister of Media Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, and Ziad Mansour, Microsoft’s executive vice president of data and artificial intelligence.

Bassem Al-Hazmi, the general manager of digital transformation and information technology and the general manager of cybersecurity, was also present, along with the President of Microsoft Arabia Turki Badhris.

Cooperation will include developing technical aspects in the areas of data analysis, self-learning, AI, security and privacy solutions, and various software and service development solutions.

It will aim to raise the quality of local media content and keep pace with global transformations to serve the future goals of the Ministry of Media.

The memorandum also bids to advance the media sector in the Kingdom, enabling it to contribute to the local economy while benefiting from the developments of AI and its multiple applications in the field of media.


Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show

Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show
Updated 28 May 2024
Follow

Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show

Who’s Who: Mansour Al-Babtain, VP of commercial partnerships and liaison at World Defense Show

Mansour Al-Babtain is the vice president of commercial partnerships and liaison at the World Defense Show.

A former fighter pilot, Al-Babtain has extensive experience working with high-level government figures and private-sector leaders.

He joined the WDS in April 2021. His current role is to oversee the sales, sponsorship and customer experience divisions, in addition to maintaining his liaison responsibilities with Saudi government entities including the General Authority for Military Industries and international delegations.

The department links WDS business owners with the appropriate government entities, ensures the security of the location and people prior to, during and following the show, and manages WDS committees.

From the initial show license to security support, Al-Babtain effectively manages the challenges of ensuring the smooth entry and exit of military supplies, technology, and personnel.

Having graduated from King Faisal Air Academy, he served 12 years in the Royal Saudi Air Force as a fighter pilot, squadron leader and tactical intelligence officer before moving to the Ministry of Defense and later to several government entities.

In addition to his degree in aerial sciences, Al-Babtain holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from Air University in Alabama and a diploma in diplomatic and political relations from the International Arbitration Commission in Cairo.
 


AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting

AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting
Updated 28 May 2024
Follow

AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting

AI and intellectual property in the spotlight at Arab League meeting

RIYADH: Intellectual property and artificial intelligence will be discussed at a regional meeting of the Arab League’s Intellectual Property and Competitiveness Department on Wednesday.

The virtual gathering, which will be hosted via video link, will include experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization and governmental intellectual property offices from several Arab nations, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Key topics on the agenda are optimizing intellectual property frameworks for AI development, the impact of AI on patenting processes, legislative efforts to address legal challenges, and implications of AI for copyright regulations.

Minister Plenipotentiary Dr. Maha Bakheet, director of legal affairs at the Intellectual Property and Competitiveness Department, said the meeting aimed to safeguard AI models through intellectual property mechanisms and enhance services.

It also hopes to drive service delivery and management progress within regional intellectual property offices.


Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations

Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations
Updated 28 May 2024
Follow

Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations

Saudi recruiters to face heavy fines for visa violations

RIYADH: The General Directorate of Public Security announced that recruiters who postpone reporting the departures of employees as soon as their entry visas expire will be subject to a fine of about SR50,000 ($13,300), imprisonment for up to six months, and deportation of recruitees if they are expatriates.

The directorate called for reporting residency, work and border security regulation violations by dialing the numbers (911) in Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and (999) in the rest of the Kingdom.

According to the Saudi Press Agency report, the directorate said that from May 23 until June 21, anyone holding a visit visa of any type is not permitted to enter or remain in Makkah.

A visit visa of any type and name does not entitle its holder to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, added the directorate.