Look: UAE astronaut 'Sultan of Space' suits up for epic 6-month mission on ISS

Sultan Al Neyadi is set to launch on February 26 to carry out the first Arab long-duration astronaut mission

By Web Desk

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Published: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 7:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Mar 2023, 12:39 PM

All suited up in astronaut gear, Sultan Al Neyadi looked 100 per cent ready for the UAE's next big space mission. His official portrait as part of the SpaceX Crew-6 was released on Saturday.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre shared four images on Twitter: The first is a striking close-up photo of Al Neyadi looking straight into the camera, behind the glass of his astronaut helmet (See above).

The second picture zooms in on the patch of the UAE flag stitched onto his sleeve, with his name 'S.ALNEYADI' below; while the third is a more casual shot of the Emirati smiling, his arms crossed.

In the fourth photo, he is seen seated in what looked like a spacecraft.

Al Neyadi — mission specialist, Primary Crew, Crew-6 — has undergone rigorous training for the historic mission that will make him the first Arab astronaut to spend six months on the International Space Station (ISS). With just a few weeks remaining before the target February 26 liftoff, the Emirati is about to go into quarantine, which is part of the standard measures for every astronaut heading to space.

He will be blasting off with three other crew members: astronaut Stephen Bowen, spacecraft commander at Nasa, astronaut Warren Hoburg, a pilot at Nasa, and cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, mission specialist at Roscosmos.

Last Thursday, at a Press conference, Al Neyadi shared a glimpse of how he has been preparing himself — physically, mentally, and emotionally — for the grand adventure ahead of him. He admitted that 180 days would be a long time to be in space, so he would be bringing a number of mementos that will remind him every day of life on Earth.

"I'm taking some family photos. This is important. I'm taking some toys from my kids; plus some university T-shirts and small Tintin rockets," he said in a previous interview. And if there's anything he would miss the most, he said it would be his mother's cooking.

One of the most interesting things about Al Neyadi's mission is the fact that he will be spending the entire holy month of Ramadan and Eid right at the lab in orbit — where there would be 16 sunrises and sunsets daily.

Asked how he would manage fasting during this period, he said: "I will be in the category of a traveller and fasting is not mandatory... (However) fasting during Ramadan is actually good for the body and if the occasion permits, I would love to share some UAE meals with my fellow crew members. I’ll see how it goes.”

About 250 science experiments will be carried out on board the ISS during the six-month period, and Al Neyadi is set to conduct 20 of them.


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