Emirati astronaut back on Earth: When will AlNeyadi come to the UAE?

Preparations are underway in the country to celebrate the return of its ‘hero’


Nandini Sircar

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Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

Published: Mon 4 Sep 2023, 1:45 PM

Last updated: Mon 4 Sep 2023, 11:06 PM

Sultan AlNeyadi will be spending about two weeks in Houston before he returns to the UAE.

This was revealed on Monday by Adnan Alrais, assistant director general space operations and exploration sector, Mission Manager, UAE Astronaut Programme during a teleconference by NASA.

The 42-year-old splashed down safely in the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at 8:17 am UAE time on Monday, after a six-month mission in space.

Responding to media queries after AlNeyadi’s successful return to Earth, Alrais said, “With regards to Sultan AlNeyadi, he'll spend around 14 days here in Houston. After that, he’ll be back in the UAE for almost a week. Then again, he'll be back in Houston to conduct further science and experiments.”

Meanwhile, preparations are underway in the country to celebrate the return of its ‘hero’ as Al Neyadi's voyage in space has filled the UAE with pride. The entire nation is eagerly anticipating his return, planning to welcome him with the honour he deserves.

Like UAE’s pioneering astronaut Hazza AlMansouri, the preparations for AlNeyadi entail meetings with national leaders, festive celebrations, and outreach activities to mark his triumphant return, particularly in the city of Al Ain which is his hometown.

Alrais expresses UAE's eagerness to collaborate on forthcoming space missions

Congratulating Nasa and Space X on the successful return of the Crew X mission Alrais reiterated this mission marks an important milestone for the UAE's space program, and there is enthusiasm for future cooperation in the field of human spaceflight missions.

“I'd like to congratulate Nasa and SpaceX on the successful return of the Crew 6 mission. It was a really smooth return and also congratulations to the crew members for completing their mission successfully. This mission has been a fabulous, mission for the UAE with an Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi participating in the longest duration mission, as an Arab astronaut who has participated for a six-month duration conducting a lot of science and experiments in cooperation with NASA and ISS. We had many education outreach activities, and live events with thousands of students in different parts of the country, as well as the region, supporting the growing space sector in our country. Again, I'd like to thank Nasa. We are grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the human spaceflight programme. It's an important milestone for the UAE spaceflight programme. We're looking forward to continuing and expanding this cooperation with future missions.”

Nasa and Space X thank UAE

Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Nasa Kennedy said, “After departing from the ship (recovery vessel named Megan) the crew will head to the rendezvous point where they’ll do some science operations and then they'll fly back to Houston. The crew was doing really well after landing. They all looked really good coming out of the Dragon capsule. I would really like to thank the entire Nasa and SpaceX team for all the hard work. It was a great mission that did a lot of science. So, a huge thanks to the entire team and international partners… to the UAE, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US Coast Guards, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the rescue forces. Our National Weather Service played a huge role in the landing.”

Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station (ISS), Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston described this morning’s landing as “outstanding”.

“This crew spent 184 days onboard the orbiting laboratory, adding a day up in and a day down to 186 days in space. They did just under 3,000 orbits of the Earth,” said Montalbano.

He explained the crew also saw seven visiting vehicles come and go to the ISS and performed just under 250 experiments and utilisation, research, and technology demonstration.

Meanwhile, the Dragon capsule that brought the Crew 6 safely back home is being brought back to a refurbishment facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

William Gerstenmaier, Vice President, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX also extended his heartfelt congratulations to the collaborative teams including the UAE that has been a key member responsible for making this achievement possible.

He said, “A huge congratulations to the joint teams that are making this happen and continuing to do so. Our thank you as always to Nasa but of course, to the UAE and to the 45th Wing of the Space Force, for your trust, your partnership and your close collaboration for this mission. A special thank you to all the families and friends and to all the people who've worked both at Nasa and SpaceX for all these years.”

“It's a lot of sacrifice that goes into this… for the people working and of course for the families, it means a lot to be able to do this…to do this for the nation, for the world, and for our international partners,” Gerstenmaier added.


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