UAE Rulers congratulate astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi after successful launch of 'Zayed Ambition 2' Mission

The Dubai Crown Prince joined the ground control team at the MBRSC a couple of minutes before the launch


Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 2 Mar 2023, 11:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Mar 2023, 7:22 PM

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has expressed his pride in Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi who has been working tirelessly to uphold the country’s flag as he blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday for a six-month mission.

He affirmed that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has successfully launched the “Zayed Ambition 2” mission, led by Dr Al Neyadi to the ISS.

The UAE’s second endeavour to send Emirati astronauts for space exploration took off from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 09:34am UAE time on Thursday, launching on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The President underlined that the participation in this mission reflects the country’s vision in strengthening its contributions to scientific research that will serve humanity.

He said, “The participation of Emiratis in this mission is seen as a step closer towards achieving our vision of ensuring a better future for generations and strengthen their participation in building the future.”

Sheikh Mohamed highlighted the national strategy the UAE adopts to develop its scientific manpower and prepare young Emiratis to further contribute to the cause.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai affirmed that the ambitions of the UAE in the space sector are a clear reflection of its vision of shaping the future.

He said,“Our ambition in exploring space sciences is limitless, and we are keen to strengthening our position in this promising sector.”

Sheikh Mohammed also reiterated the UAE’s commitment to complement the ambitions of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed.

He averred, “we are always inspired by the ambitions of our founding father… This can be seen most clearly today by our participation in ‘Zayed Ambition 2’, the longest Arab Space Mission in History.”

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

The space farers will spend around 24 hours in orbit lapping the Earth, before docking with the ISS on 3 March at 10:17am UAE time.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman, MBRSC opined, “As we venture into the depths of space, we carry with us the hopes and dreams of our nation, and the determination to make history. Today, we celebrate not just the successful launch of the longest Arab space mission in history, but the realization of a vision that will inspire generations to come. We are highly grateful of our wise leadership whose constant support is a source of strength and inspiration for the team to constantly.”

What does expedition to the ISS mean?

An expedition to the orbiting laboratory refers to the crew that is occupying the space station and using it for research and testing. These expeditions can comprise of two to seven crew members and can last up to a period of six months. They are sequentially numbered, starting from one and increasing with each subsequent expedition.

Currently the Expedition 68 crew onboard the International Space Station consists of Nasa astronaut Frank Rubio, Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata; and Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin, Sergey Prokopyev and Anna Kikina.

Expedition 69, which will begin soon after Crew-6's arrival and will entail several experiments related to moon research among others.

Upcoming scientific experiments and AlNeyadi’s role

Experiments by this Crew 6 will additionally include studies of how particular materials burn in microgravity, tissue chip research on heart, brain, and cartilage functions, back pain, epigenetics, fluid science, sleep analysis, radiation and an investigation that will collect microbial samples from the outside of the space station.

Expedition 68/69 will also potentially continue to install the final pieces of iROSA, the roll-out solar arrays on the ISS.

During the mission, Sultan AlNeyadi will collaborate with Nasa, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) to conduct 19 scientific studies across a wide range of topics.

The mission will also incorporate educational outreach efforts designed to inspire and engage the next generation of scientists and explorers.

These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.

The ‘Zayed Ambition 2’ Mission, is a part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage.


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