UAE astronaut completes 'exciting' mission: Spacecraft relocated outside ISS

Sultan AlNeyadi and his crew have now entered their third month in space, and according to Nasa, they are targeted to return to Earth in August


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sat 6 May 2023, 5:47 PM

Last updated: Sat 6 May 2023, 11:25 PM

UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi and his Crew-6 mates have successfully completed the relocation of SpaceX Dragon Endeavour outside the orbiting International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday at 4.01pm (UAE time).

The spacecraft, which is used to transport astronauts and supplies between Earth and ISS, is now docked on the forward port of ISS’s Harmony module. The move made room for the arrival of an uncrewed SpaceX Dragon resupply services mission scheduled for launch in June.

Ahead of the mission, AlNeyadi sent out a tweet talking about the 'exciting times ahead'. He shared how he and his teammates suited up and prepared for the task.

The spacecraft relocation – the 27th in ISS history – was completed in over an hour, after Crew-6 members (AlNeyadi, Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev) undocked from the space-facing port of the ISS’s Harmony module at 3.10pm (UAE time).

Bowen served as the commander of the relocation mission while Hoburg piloted the spacecraft. AlNeyadi and Fedyaev assisted with the manoeuvre, and the quartet were supported by the Mission Control Centre at the Nasa Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX in Hawthorne, California.

By freeing up the zenith port on Harmony, the Canadarm2 robotic arm will now have easier access to the International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays or IROSAs that will arrive during the commercial resupply mission.

Series of spacewalks

The installation of new solar arrays on the ISS will be completed through a series of spacewalks – one of which was the seven-hour extravehicular activity (EVA) completed last week by Bowen and AlNeyadi, who entered space history as the first-ever Arab astronaut who did a spacewalk outside the ISS.

Crew-6 have now entered their third month in space. According to Nasa, they are targeted to return to Earth in August.

Three Arabs aboard ISS

Meanwhile, two Saudi astronauts are set to join AlNeyadi aboard the orbiting space laboratory for 10 days. Saudi Arabia's first female astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi, and male astronaut Ali AlQarni are part of the Axiom Space 2 Mission that is scheduled for liftoff in the early hours of May 22.

This will be the first mission for Saudi Arabia's new astronaut programme and this will be the first time that as many as three Arab astronauts will be onboard the ISS.


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