Watch: Sheikh Mohammed holds Earth-to-space call with UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi

He has been on the floating laboratory for five days now, and is getting up to speed with life aboard the ISS

By Sahim Salim and Angel Tesorero

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Published: Tue 7 Mar 2023, 3:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Mar 2023, 10:04 PM

UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi made his first public call to Earth on Tuesday from aboard the International Space Station (ISS). At the other end of the line — about 400km away from his orbital outpost — was none other than His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Speaking with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on Tuesday, AlNeyadi said his body is still coping with microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

AlNeyadi is now on fifth day of his six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He and his crewmates, Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen, Warren Hoburg, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, safely docked aboard Crew Dragon Endeavour on the ISS at 10.40am (UAE time) on Friday.

AlNeyadi told Sheikh Mohammed their schedule on ISS has been hectic since Day 1. He also thanked Sheikh Mohammed for keeping his promise of sending more astronauts to space after Hazzaa AlMansoori went to ISS for eight days in September 2019.

During the five-minute video call, AlNeyadi also demonstrated Suhail, the UAE astro toy, floating inside the ISS, adding the so-called fifth member of Crew-6 has adapted top life in space.

A mission specialist while taking off from Earth, AlNeyadi became a flight engineer on boarding the ISS.

Colonel Hazzaa AlMansoori, the first UAE astronaut who launched to space in 2019, said he spoke to AlNeyadi a couple of days ago. “He was really happy just to feel the weightlessness … just to achieve his dream, to float, to be in space and to conduct science. He is in high spirits, and just wants to start work. He's really doing great. He talked with his family.”

Sheikh Mohammed had in 2019 interacted with astronaut Hazza AlMansoori on his second day on the ISS. AlMansoori was the first UAE astronaut to have gone to the space station, where he spent eight days.

During the Earth-to-space conversation, Sheikh Mohammed had assured AlMansoori that even though the latter is the first Emirati to venture to space, “a generation of young citizens will follow in your footsteps and become space scientists and technology pioneers”.

AlNeyadi’s six-month stay on the ISS — the longest Arab space mission in history — is a fulfillment of that assurance.


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