'You carried the dreams of a nation': UAE leaders congratulate Sultan AlNeyadi after safe return

He returned to Earth after spending 186 days at the ISS when the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft he was travelling in splashed down safely today at 8.17am


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 4 Sep 2023, 9:43 AM

Last updated: Mon 4 Sep 2023, 11:08 PM

Leaders in the UAE have congratulated Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi following his safe return to Earth.

UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan wrote on platform X: “The people of the UAE are immensely proud of you and the entire team for achieving major advances in space exploration. You carried the dreams of a nation to new frontiers, and we celebrate your pioneering journey and safe return.”

Sultan AlNeyadi returned to Earth after spending 186 days at the ISS when the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft he was travelling in splashed down safely on Monday at 8.17am (UAE time) in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the Arab world and its youth on the successful return of Sultan AlNeyadi from the International Space Station (ISS).

Taking to platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Sheikh Mohammed wrote:

“We congratulate the people of the UAE and all Arab youth on the safe return of Sultan Al Neyadi to planet Earth - the first Arab astronaut on a long mission to the International Space Station. Sultan conducted 200 scientific research missions, spent more than 4,400 hours in space and inspired millions of Arab youth that we are able to contribute positively to humanity's scientific and civilised march.”

AlNeyadi was the last one to alight from the Dragon spacecraft after splashdown and was met with applause and cheers. He will spend roughly three weeks in rehabilitation before returning to the UAE.

We 'do not know the impossible'

Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also posted a congratulatory message on social media.

“Driven by Zayed's vision, the UAE has embarked on a remarkable journey from desert to space. Today, we celebrate Sultan AlNeyadi's return to earth after the longest Arab space mission ever - a milestone moment for a nation whose ambitions know no limits,” he wrote on platform X.

He also added that the preparation was on for further space missions. “As we look towards new adventures in space, the UAE continues to pursue its vision for a brighter Arab future. We are proud of Sultan's 200 experiments on the ISS, which further consolidate our nation's legacy in the global space arena,” he added.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture also congratulated AlNeyadi.

“Today unveils a new chapter in the UAE’s journey of possibilities. We congratulate Sultan AlNeyadi, our space envoy, on his safe return to Earth, fulfilling a new national aspiration after the success of the longest Arab astronaut mission. We thank God for your safety. Your journey has proved that the impossible is possible and this is just the beginning,” she posted on X.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline & Group hailed the “monumental achievement”.

“Welcome back @astro_alneyadi! Your International Space Station journey is a testament to @HHSHkMohd’s visionary leadership, in taking our nation's nascent space industry to a new frontier. Congratulations to the @MBRSCSpaceCentre and the UAE on this monumental achievement,” he tweeted.

'Indescribable joy'

Meanwhile, videos shared on social media by Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) show senior officials applauding and cheering as AlNeyadi slid outside the spacecraft.

The Director General of MBRSC, Salem Humaid AlMarri tweeted about his happiness.

“Welcome back Sultan! Our joy is indescribable. In these historic 6 months, we have achieved all the strategic goals of this mission. The longest Arab space mission in history has provided scientific data from over 200 experiments. The mission also provided an educational and outreach programme that inspired audiences and students from the UAE, alongside millions of people on social media, igniting their passion for space. The mission made history by witnessing the first Arab spacewalk. We convey our gratitude to the UAE’s wise leadership for their continuous support,” he wrote.

The chairman of MBRSC Hamad Obaid AlMansoori also thanked the UAE’s leadership for their vision. “We thank God for the safe arrival of Sultan and the successful completion of this historic mission for the UAE National Space Programme,” he wrote. “This achievement would not have been possible without the vision of our wise leadership, who constantly strive for ambitious goals, as well as the exceptional support of our hardworking Emirati youth who made this mission a reality.”


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