Long hugs, a plushie from space: Watch Sultan AlNeyadi's emotional reunion with children, father

The father of six said that he had taken some of their toys to space and he was looking forward to returning those to them


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 18 Sep 2023, 9:31 PM

Last updated: Mon 18 Sep 2023, 10:00 PM

UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi was away in space for six months; for 186 days, he was thousands of miles away from his family - six children, wife, and loving parents. When he returned home on Monday, September 18, emotion overtook this father, husband and son.

Warm hugs from three of his children at the door of his plane welcomed AlNeyadi. He held them close as long as he could, patting their backs and handing over plushie Suhail to his younger son.

His daughter was dressed in a pink jalabiya and traditional gold jewellery, while his sons donned white kandooras and headgear. AlNeyadi then greeted his father with a hug before planting a kiss on his forehead. His father raised his hands to the sky and thanked God for the safe return of his son.

He introduced his family to the leaders as he greeted the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

As AlNeyadi chatted with the UAE Rulers, his children sat close by AlNeyadi kept his children close and put his arms around them when posing for a group photo with officials and other astronauts.

After the completion of the Arab world's longest space mission, AlNeyadi returned to the UAE to a hero's welcome. A fly-past in the colours of the UAE flag greeted him.

Quality time

During the press conference, he said he looked forward to unwinding and spending time with his family. "It was good to see all of them here," he said. "When I go home, I want to unwind and relax. I will answer some questions they may have. Definitely, I want to have family time. I would like to explain things and share some quality time with them."

The father of six said that he had taken some of their toys to space, and he was looking forward to returning those to them. However, he confessed that he did not give the original Suhail who went to space to his children. Instead, he gave them a different iteration of the plushie. "My son asked me 'is this the Suhail you took' and I said it was a fake one," he laughed. "I have the real one hidden. He is a VIP now."

Suhail, the astronaut stuffed toy, has been a regular companion of AlNeyadi during his historic space mission. On March 2, when he blasted off to space, AlNeyadi introduced the blue-and-white plush toy to the world as the "fifth member" of Crew-6. Since then, he has been seen in several videos from space and even in AlNeyadi's Eid photo when it was dressed adorably in a kandoora.


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