UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi reveals what he'll miss most about space life once he's back on Earth

Sultan of Space and his Crew 6 teammates will return to Earth by the end of August or first week of September, once the next group of astronauts reaches the station

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Photo by Nasreen Abdulla
Photo by Nasreen Abdulla

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Fri 4 Aug 2023, 8:09 PM

Last updated: Sun 6 Aug 2023, 3:41 PM

Despite all the difficulties it poses, UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi said he will miss microgravity when he returns to Earth soon. Responding to a question from Khaleej Times on Friday, AlNeyadi said that he had become used to floating around.

“The one thing I will miss the most is microgravity,” he said, adding that he will miss looking down on Earth from the International Space Station (ISS).

AlNeyadi was speaking at an exclusive media interaction where he answered questions from eight media houses in the UAE.

He explained how it took him some time to get used to microgravity when he first started the mission. “During the early days, instead of focusing on doing something, I would spend all my time chasing after things that would float away from me,” he said. “Anything is susceptible to floating away here.”

With less than a month before his return, he was taking it one day at a time. “We are focusing on our ongoing experiments and the maintenance and our daily duties," he said.

“We will continue doing that for the last few weeks here. I am just doing my daily job and hopefully when the time comes to return home, I am ready.”

Missing family

Of all the earthly things, AlNeyadi said it was family he had been missing the most. He had carried some of his children's toys to space as a constant reminder of home, and he would be gifting them back to them upon landing.

"I definitely miss my family,” he said. “I am looking forward to chatting with them and telling them what I experienced.”

However, asked whether he would stay on for six more months if he got the chance, AlNeyadi said he would do so. “I would love to stay on,” he said. “There is so much more for me to do but unfortunately, we don’t get to choose. Definitely, I would have loved to have more time on the station.”

Surprise guest

On Thursday, the astronaut got an emotional surprise at the Abu Dhabi edition of 'A Call from Space' event held at the Louvre.

His father Saif AlNeyadi attended the session and conveyed greetings from his family. A touched AlNeyadi thanked everyone who had arranged the surprise for him.

When asked what he wanted to do first upon landing back on earth, he said that he would want to eat some fresh food.

“I don’t know what the situation will be as we need time to adapt back to Earth but I would definitely like to eat some freshly cooked food and maybe a cup of coffee,” he said. “People also like to sleep on a bed. I don’t know but definitely I would love to have a fresh meal once I am back.”

AlNeyadi and his Crew 6 teammates will return to Earth by the end of August or first week of September, once the Crew 7 blasts off to space and a handover is complete.

After living in microgravity for almost half a year, there will be changes in AlNeyadi’s body. It will take a few weeks for him to get acclimatised to Earth's gravity. He is expected to arrive in the UAE before the end of September.


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