Look: UAE astronaut suits up for spacewalk; how, when and where to watch feat LIVE

As the first Arab astronaut to do a spacewalk, AlNeyadi will make the Emirates the 10th country to perform the feat on the orbital outpost

By Sahim Salim and Ruqayya AlQaidi

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 6:05 PM

Last updated: Fri 28 Apr 2023, 8:49 AM

When UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi steps out of the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, he will be floating into the history books. As the first Arab astronaut to do a spacewalk, he will make the UAE the 10th country to perform the feat on the orbital outpost.

Twenty-four hours ahead of the feat, AlNeyadi posted a photo of himself in a spacesuit that will protect him as he flies outside the ISS for over six hours.

AlNeyadi will perform the 261st spacewalk in support of assembly, maintenance, and upgrades on the space station along with Nasa Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen.

“Tomorrow, Steve Bowen and I will do a spacewalk outside the ISS to change the Radio Frequency Group unit and prepare for the installation of solar panels. After a long period of training, we are ready to take on the challenge and create a new milestone for our mission,” AlNeyadi tweeted.

The fourth spacewalk out of the ISS this year is projected to last approximately 6.5 hours, providing the astronauts with the unique opportunity to experience the vast expanse of space while working to maintain and upgrade the ISS.

One of the primary objectives of the EVA will be to retrieve a crucial Radio Frequency Group (RFG) unit, which is an integral component of the ISS's S-Band communications string. This essential piece of communications equipment will be returned to Earth on a SpaceX flight.

In addition to the primary task, AlNeyadi and his team will be working on a series of preparatory tasks related to the solar array installation EVAs planned for later in the mission. The solar arrays play a pivotal role in powering the ISS, providing clean and renewable energy to support the various experiments, systems, and daily operations on board.

Where, when and how to watch

The spacewalk is all set to begin at 5.15pm UAE time on Friday, April 28. Tune into Khaleej Times’ digital and social media platforms from 4.30pm as we cover the historic feat live. We will stream the spacewalk as it happens; post photos and videos; and have live commentary and reports till AlNeyadi gets back inside the safety of the International Space Station.

How AlNeyadi will fly

AlNeyadi had earlier shared a video, explaining how the mission will go down:

Pressure equalisation room

“This is where we prepare spacesuits for spacewalks. The room is divided into two sections: One to prepare and the other for astronauts to don their suits. The gate is closed before the pressure is released.”

Astronaut suits

“As you can see around me, on my right and left are astronaut suits. Typically, spacewalks involve two people who perform many tasks such as conducting certain maintenance or installing new parts for the ISS.

“The spacesuit itself is like a small spacecraft that provides protection for astronauts. It allows us to work for up to seven continuous hours in outer space, providing us with oxygen and protection from high temperatures that can reach up to 120°C and drop to -150°C. It also contains devices for purifying air from carbon dioxide and communication devices necessary for spacewalking.”

Back section of the suit

“The back part, which is like a backpack, is called the life support system. It contains oxygen, cooling equipment, communication devices, and air purification devices.”

Upper and lower sections

“They come in three sizes: Medium, large, and extra-large. Usually, the astronaut wears a suit of a specific size in the upper part, and then straps are adjusted on the arms and legs to fit the size of the astronaut.”

Helmet and visor

The helmet is protected by a hard layer on top. It also has a sun visor in case work is performed during sun exposure, and it has covers on both the right and left sides.


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