In photos: How UAE welcomed hero Sultan AlNeyadi home after historic space mission

The country had been counting down the days until his arrival, and the wait was definitely worth it

By Laraib Anwer

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Published: Tue 19 Sep 2023, 12:23 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Sep 2023, 1:31 PM

Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi returned to the UAE to a hero's welcome on Monday, September 18. UAE royals, residents, family and other astronauts were among those who warmly welcomed him.

The country had been counting down the days until his arrival, and the wait was definitely worth it.

From his meeting with UAE leaders, to a warm embrace from his little ones, Sultan AlNeyadi seemed to have made a splashdown all over again — this time, in his homeland.

Take a look at how the Emirati astronaut landed in the UAE and the events that followed after:

A large screen at the Abu Dhabi International Airport displayed the arrival of the astronaut, as people around the country eagerly awaited his return.

A presidential plane carrying the astronaut landed in the capital at the Abu Dhabi International Airport and was seen taxiing on the runway.

The sky was covered in colours of red and green as a flypast was conducted to celebrate the astronaut's historic feat.

Nothing beats a family's embrace, that too after six long months in space. Sultan AlNeyadi was greeted by his children as he stepped out of the aircraft and embraced his daughter and sons.

Sultan AlNeyadi was greeted by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

AlNeyadi presented the flag he initially took to space to the President, who then proceeded to hold it in his hands and kiss it.

The Emirati astronaut was seated next to the two leaders, while his children and father joined him on the couch.

In a post shared by the President on Twitter, Sultan AlNeyadi is joined by the two rulers, other astronauts, his children, officials and members of the MBR Space Centre as they stand together for a photo.

An overjoyed Sultan AlNeyadi greeted children as they reached out their hands towards him and raised the nation's flag. He wore a garland of flowers around his neck as he greeted them.

As a troop of men doing the traditional dance welcomed the astronaut, AlNeyadi joined them and smiled as he danced along.

Fellow Emiratis excitedly greeted the astronaut as they rushed to his side in order to take selfies with him.

To wrap up his homecoming event, Sultan AlNeyadi addressed the media where he spoke about how he wanted to go to the moon next, and answered questions from journalists.

He was accompanied by pioneering astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) Director General Salem Al Marri.


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