Ramadan, Eid in space: UAE astronaut talks of fasting, sharing Emirati meals with colleagues

He says that since he is in the category of 'traveller', fasting is not mandatory while he is on the ISS



Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter
by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 7:47 AM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 5:56 PM

UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi will be on the International Space Station during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid this year. In an interview, the astronaut said if he has the opportunity, he would love to treat his colleagues to Emirati hospitality.

“Six months in space, is a great privilege and a big responsibility. Throughout the six months we will experience special occasions like Ramadan and Eid. I will be in the category of a traveller and fasting is not mandatory. We are allowed to eat sufficient food to prevent a situation that can adversely affect our health due to lack of nutrition or hydration. 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.”

Ready for the mission

Talking about any possible apprehension, Al Neyadi points out he is fearless. He is only in awe of what he is going to experience.

“Thanks to the training and knowledge that we’ve gained, I don’t call it fear but respect. A fellow astronaut once said, we need to respect the machine we are handling. So, I look up to the rocket and capsule and the station. In case of an emergency, I think we are well trained and are aware that we’ve been equipped to respond adequately, in terms of procedures that we can conduct. We are ready for it.”

His vision of UAE in space

Looking back in time since he started in 2017, having been trained for almost 1,600 days, the man who was raised in the quaint city of Al Ain says, “In 2017 it was a new call for participants to go and fly. I was lucky enough to be selected among the first two… Hazzaa and I. In 2019 after a very successful mission where Hazzaa Al Mansoori went … it led to a continuous presence in space for the UAE. It was a promise from our Prime Minister to continue with these flights. So, we raised the bar with this mission, and we are talking of six-months (in space) now.”

“We have two new astronauts from the UAE training with the Nasa’s Astronaut Candidate Class. We are looking to join Artemis in the future. I would love to see a UAE flag on the Lunar surface carried by a UAE astronaut. I think the UAE is doing a great job and in the next ten years we will definitely push the boundaries further,” he added.

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