Children's toys, photos: UAE astronaut reveals personal items he will carry to space for 6-month mission

Dr Sultan Al Neyadi says that these items will help him keep connection with people back home


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 7:23 AM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 2:01 PM

Emirati astronaut Dr Sultan Al Neyadi, who will jet off to space on February 26 on a long-haul mission, is carrying some family photos, a few of his children’s toys, his university T-shirt, Tintin rockets and his jiu-jitsu uniform, among other things.

These, he explains, will help him “keep the connection with people on Earth.”

Speaking to Khaleej Times on Wednesday, the Emirati astronaut who is gearing up for his first six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) says, “We can carry a few bags to space with personal items. So, I'm taking some family photos. This is important. I'm taking some toys from my kids; I still haven't told them yet. I'm taking some university T shirts again. I haven't told my university people either.”

“It's something that I'm looking to take into space. So, I want to keep that connection with people on Earth by using these items. I will also take small Tintin rockets as ... personal items. I am also specifically taking a jiu-jitsu Kimono. I am still looking for a victim or (maybe) a partner actually,” he adds laughingly.

Staying away from family

Sharing his thoughts on the most challenging part of this long-haul mission he adds, “The most difficult bit for me is that six months is a long duration and definitely staying away from family is the challenging part for me. Hopefully, I can keep that connection with my loved ones and share my daily routine, and to keep that bond going throughout the six-month mission.”

Talking about the moment he most looks forward to when in space, he adds, “I have a plan to look down at Earth with a camera. So, I want to share that first moment with everyone. Hopefully, it will work.”

Impact of microgravity

To maintain his health, Al Neyadi explains he will maintain a strict exercise regimen to mitigate any effects of microgravity.

“We have a rigorous training schedule. We train two hours every day to maintain the bone density and the muscle density as well. So hopefully, there won't be as big an impact on our bodies. We have measures, yet we will still have some changes that we need to study. When we come back that's where we take some samples before during and after the mission.”


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