Look: UAE astronaut posts heart-warming image of son as 6-month space mission given 'Go' for launch

Less than 24 hours remain for the nation to undertake the Arab world’s first long-duration space mission


Sahim Salim

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Published: Sun 26 Feb 2023, 11:30 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Mar 2023, 12:32 PM

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has shared a touching photo of him with his son, as his mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was officially given a ‘Go’ for launch. Less than 24 hours remain for the UAE to undertake the Arab world’s first long-duration space mission.

“Today, we fly to pave the way for the next generations,” Al Neyadi posted on Twitter.

The ‘Launch Readiness Review’ for Nasa’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission to the ISS has now been completed. Liftoff is targeted for 1.45am EST (10.45am UAE time) on Monday, February 27, from Kennedy Space Centre’s’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

Addressing the prelaunch news teleconference for Crew-6 mission, Adnan AlRais, mission manager, UAE Astronaut Programme, said he met Al Neyadi, who is “excited and ready” for the mission. The Emirati astronaut is also “grateful for the opportunity to represent the UAE” in this mission, AlRais added.

According to SpaceX, the “instantaneous” launch window is at 1.45am EST, with a backup opportunity available on Tuesday, February 28, at 1.22am EST (10.22am UAE time).

Officials said there's a 95 per cent chance of favourable weather for the planned launch window. The launch weather officer mentioned a cumulus cloud that could drift at the “wrong time, but very unlikely”.

Al Neyadi’s family, including his father, children, cousins and friends, are at the launch site since Friday.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft Endeavour, powered by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, will carry Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, UAE astronaut Al Neyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev on the 25-hour trip to the space station.

The crew will dock at approximately 2.38am EST (11.38am) UAE time on Tuesday, February 28. They will remain onboard the microgravity laboratory for up to six months.

“During their time on the orbiting laboratory, the crew will conduct over 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations in areas such as life and physical sciences to advanced materials, technology development, in-space production applications, and even student-led research,” SpaceX said.

At the conclusion of the mission, Dragon Endeavour will autonomously undock with the four crew members aboard, depart the space station and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. According to Nasa, after splashdown just off Florida’s coast, a SpaceX recovery vessel will pick up the crew, who will be helicoptered back to shore.


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