UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi gets ready for Arab world's first spacewalk on Friday

This mission will make the Emirates one of only 10 countries that have participated in an ISS spacewalk



Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
by

Angel Tesorero

Published: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 1:29 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 8:14 PM

UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi and Nasa’s Stephen Bowen have prepared their space biology hardware, organised spacewalking tools, and inspected the tethers that will keep them safely attached to the International Space Station (ISS) for their upcoming spacewalk on Friday, April 28.

The duo have also prepared their spacesuit, also known as an Extravehicular Mobility Unit, inside ISS’s Joint Quest Airlock, which is the actual exit for performing spacewalks.

Friday's mission will be the first-ever spacewalk performed by an Arab astronaut and AlNeyadi will make the UAE one of only 10 countries that have participated in an ISS spacewalk. Bowen, meanwhile, will serve as the lead spacewalker as he goes on his eighth EVA.

The two astronauts will begin the spacewalk at about 5.15pm (UAE time) on Friday and spend about 6.5 hours “in the vacuum of space, continuing the process of upgrading the station’s power generation system,” according to Nasa.

Nasa flight engineers Woody Hoburg and Frank Rubio Hoburg will assist the astronauts in and out of their spacesuits and monitor their spacewalk. They have earlier assisted in checking the spacesuits for leaks and proper fit verification.

Spacewalk tasks

There have been around 260 spacewalks at the ISS since 1998. Spacewalks allow astronauts to make repairs or install equipment outside of the orbiting laboratory. One of AlNeyadi’s and Bowen’s EVA tasks is to prepare a section of the ISS for the installation of new solar arrays.

They will arrange some power cables and make sure that no bare metal is being shown that everything is in good configuration. They will also re-arrange foot restraints that will be used in future spacewalks.

Another major task is to retrieve the radio frequency group or RFG inside the space station. AlNeyadi will be in charge of executing this retrieval and the duo will bring back the RFG inside the ISS to be stowed on the Dragon cargo and sent back to Earth for refurbishing.

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