UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi to be the subject of several experiments onboard the ISS

The four-person Crew-6 flight will take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on February 26


Nandini Sircar

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Sultan Al Neyadi speaks at a press conference at the Museum of the Future. — AFP file
Sultan Al Neyadi speaks at a press conference at the Museum of the Future. — AFP file

Published: Mon 6 Feb 2023, 8:20 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Mar 2023, 12:39 PM

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi will be the subject of several experiments while he is onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

A total of 250 research experiments will be carried out during the six-month mission to the ISS, which will include Al Neyadi conducting at least 20 experiments, apart from the tasks consigned by Nasa and doing maintenance work on the orbiting station.

“We are subjects ourselves. We’ll have a lot of sensors on us when we do experiments. These machines log our sleep, our vascular activities, breathing and so on. There is radiation in space and loosening of muscles. How do we control (or mitigate) these things are also part of our medical experiments,” explained Al Neyadi who will soon get into quarantine ahead of the launch.

The four-person Crew-6 flight will mainly help Nasa prepare for crewed moon trips, and further long-duration living off Earth missions.

Run up to the launch

The Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft are scheduled to set off on February 26 from Launch Complex 39A at Nasa's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11.07am GST.

Experts earlier explained that once the rocket and spacecraft system checkouts are done and all components are certified for flight, teams will integrate Dragon to the Falcon 9 rocket in SpaceX’s hangar at the launch site.

After rolling this to the pad and raised vertically, an integrated static fire test along with a dry dress rehearsal with the crew will take place, prior to launch.

Understanding Expedition 69

Astronauts explain station's Expedition 69, which will begin soon after Crew-6's arrival, will entail several experiments related to moon research.

Apart from Al Neyadi, the other members of the SpaceX Crew-6 are Nasa commander Stephen Bowen, pilot William Hoburg and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.

Explaining the nature of the experiments, Al Neyadi said: “It's going to be a busy schedule. We will be conducting some experiments on the fluidics and how they react or move in space. Then, we have the combustion experiments and flammability of elements. When we go beyond the lower orbit, to the Moon and beyond, there is another test of flammability. We will do a lot of scientific observations before the flight, during the flight and after the flight to see the impact of weightlessness on our bodies. It is all for the sake of science and to push our boundaries.”


According to Nasa, experiments (by Crew 6) will include studies of how particular materials burn in microgravity, tissue chip research on heart, brain and cartilage functions, and an investigation that will collect microbial samples from the outside of the space station. It’s said these are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during the mission.

During its stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, Crew-6 will also see the arrival of cargo spacecraft including the SpaceX Dragon and the Roscosmos Progress. The astronauts will also welcome the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts and the Axiom Mission-2 crew during their expedition.

“We will be doing a lot of cool stuff as well. We have a range of experiments like material science and bioscience. The next six months are going to be really busy. We’ll be conducting solid science experiments that we should be able to come back and share with humanity. Today, we have an entire generation who wants to go to space that will contribute to greater research and knowledge. We now aspire to live on the Moon and eventually see a settlement on Mars,” added 41-year-old Al Neyadi.

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