'What a reaction!' UAE girl can't contain her excitement after speaking to astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi over radio

The student's reaction was caught in a 22-second video clip


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Thu 1 Jun 2023, 7:02 PM

What’s the secret behind the continuous success of the UAE space sector? It’s the passion of the youth, the head Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) noted in his tweet on Thursday.

Salem AlMarri, MBRSC director-general, shared a 22-second video of a young girl who asked a direct question to UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi during a recent live ham radio session.

The young girl, wearing a hijab, asked AlNeyadi about his unforgettable experiences as an astronaut and AlMarri was able to capture the student’s excitement of being heard in space.

Here's the clip:

“What a reaction!” AlMarri exclaimed in his video caption, as the girl approaches her friend and is very excited to hear the answer of the Emirati astronaut from the International Space Station orbiting the Earth at 27,500km per hour.

“This passion is the secret behind the continuous success of the Emirati space sector,” noted AlMarri, adding: “Today, this girl is inspired by communicating with @Astro_Alneyadi. In a few years, she and her peers will be a source of inspiration for the upcoming generation."

Call from space

Two ham radio sessions were recently conducted by MBRSC with AlNeyadi as part of ‘A Call from Space’ series, in collaboration with the Emirates Amateur Radio Society (EARS) and Emirates Literature Foundation (ELF).

More than 50 students from various schools across the UAE participated in the events as the ISS passed over the region. They eagerly asked questions about living in microgravity; communicating with family and friends; scientific experiments being conducted on the ISS; how astronauts keep track of time in space; life on the ISS; challenges of living in space and staying fit; among other space-related activities.

Their curiosity were satisfied by AlNeyadi who described in simple but imaginative dialogue his life aboard the ISS while conducting various scientific experiments for almost three months now. He previously described his life in space “like Superman, floating from one module to the other”.

The students were able to relate to that as they get more interested in learning about scientific experiments and other space-related activities.

Passion to explore

AlNeyadi, who is the first Arab to complete a spacewalk, admitted that his passion for space exploration started at a young age as he watched cartoons and animated heroes going to other planets.

Back in February, before flying to space, AlNeyadi said: “I grew up in a remote area in the city of Al Ain, the second largest city in the capital, Abu Dhabi. And I was lucky enough, in the 80s, we did not have much light pollution. I could see the Milky Way, the stars… And probably that was the ignition that started everything — thinking about going to space and travelling to other planets.”

“On top of that, I used to love space cartoons and heroes going to other planets,” he added.

Now, kids in the UAE no longer have to look for animated heroes in science fiction because they have a real person and an astronaut from their own country to look up to.

Adnan AlRais, mission manager of the UAE Astronaut Programme, noted: “Through these ham radio sessions with Sultan, we strive to ignite a passion for space and science in the next generation. We firmly believe that such initiatives stimulate curiosity and foster a deep understanding of the vast potential that space exploration holds. Our ultimate goal is to inspire young minds to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, contributing to the UAE's vision of becoming a leading nation in the fields of science and space.”


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