UAE astronaut's homecoming: Flight surgeon says not worried about AlNeyadi's health

Dr Hanan AlSuwaidi says astronauts will have to follow a schedule that is customised to them based on their body’s response to the splashdown


Nasreen Abdulla

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Sultan AlNeyadi. — File photo
Sultan AlNeyadi. — File photo

Published: Sun 3 Sep 2023, 9:16 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Sep 2023, 9:19 PM

Despite the muscle loss and possible difficulties adjusting back to gravity, Dr Hanan AlSuwaidi, the flight surgeon who has been responsible for Emirati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi’s medical status, has stated that she is not concerned about his health.

“He has maintained excellent health throughout his mission,” she said during a discussion with media over Zoom. “We have no concerns about his health.”

AlNeyadi, who on Sunday completed the longest Arab space mission, is scheduled to make a splashdown on Monday at 8.07am (UAE time).

AlSuwaidi further explained that the astronauts will have to follow a schedule that is customised to them based on their body’s response to the splashdown. “During the first 24 hours, they have a programme to follow,” she said.

Dr Hanan AlSuwaidi.
Dr Hanan AlSuwaidi.

“This will be customised to each crew member and will include rehab programmes, exercises and swimming sessions depending on their needs.”

She also explained that how long an astronaut takes to adjust back to gravity will also depend on their body. “With the rebab and physio, we expect them to get better day by day,” she said.

“Usually, within a month, astronauts are able to go back to their normal schedule. They are able to conduct their work without any injuries and they can continue on with life as before going for the mission.”

Special astronaut

According to AlSuwaidi, Nasa has described AlNeyadi as a special astronaut. “Sultan has been amazing,” she said.

“He has shown a lot of enthusiasm in his work and in exercising. He has been very engaging with all the experiments. Nasa said he is a very special astronaut and we are very proud of him and all our astronauts.”


Once he returns, AlNeyadi will follow a schedule for several weeks during which he will be trained to adjust back to gravity and experiments will be conducted on him and his Crew 6 colleagues to study how their body reacted to microgravity.

Earlier on Sunday, AlNeyadi’s colleague and astronaut Hazzaa AlMansouri posted on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that AlNeyadi is set to follow a designated timetable for roughly three weeks upon his return.

“Sultan will have an assigned schedule for approximately three weeks. Dr Hanan along with the doctors here at Nasa and specialised doctors will prepare a schedule for Sultan that suits his health status. Machines aboard the ISS are used to help astronauts stay fit after returning to Earth,” she wrote.

AlSuwaidi added that even after his return, AlNeyadi will have to follow a long-term schedule to maintain his health. “That is part of being an astronaut,” she said. “He will have to follow a very healthy lifestyle and maintain a clean and balance diet.

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