'Time flies in space': Do astronauts have deadlines? UAE's AlNeyadi on racing against the 'red line'

During a media session on Wednesday, he said they too have to chase daily deadlines


Nandini Sircar

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Neeraj Murali
Neeraj Murali

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 2:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 3:20 PM

Not only are mere mortals like us are shackled by daily targets, even astronauts in space have to chase daily deadlines.

Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi during a media session of “A Call with Space’ that was held on Wednesday at Dubai’s Museum of the Future, revealed: “We have a schedule, and we have a red line that we must maintain. If you are running behind the red line, then you are late, so the aim is to go beyond the red line and not be late.

“Time flies in space. We are so busy that we can’t feel the time pass by. We see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. But we have adapted to this biological clock.”

Humanity’s first out-of- this- world experience

Al Neyadi, sporting a ‘new look’, thanked the media for mapping his journey, as the world marked the 62nd International Day of Human Space Flight, when humanity, collectively through cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, had its first out-of- this- world experience.

This call was part of MBRSC’s second episode of its countrywide outreach initiative.

Revealing that he is in good mental and physical health, the 41-year-old who is currently onboard the orbiting laboratory for a long-haul mission, said: “We have to spin the wheel in the Arab region and spread awareness about such expeditions. There are psychological challenges, but we have adapted well. While I am onboard the ISS I can communicate with my family on a daily basis through video and voice calls and even emails. If they are happy and if you all on Earth are happy, then I am happy.”

He said that physically he is in good shape and has been exercising and maintaining a steady body weight. “My weight has been the same so far, but if it changes then it needs to be addressed. I am being monitored by Dr Hanan Al Suwaidi. We have a treadmill on which we exercise and have weights. People who do not exercise can face problems later and some may even require rehabilitation later.”

Protect the home planet

As the UAE observes 2023 as the year of sustainability the Sultan of Space urged people on Earth to protect their home planet. “I have realised how important it is to protect the planet. It’s a profound experience. Personally, I do feel that we need to keep this planet intact.

“Just today (Wednesday), I was flying over the Himalayas, and I saw the boundary between air pollution, the clouds and the other side of the Himalayas. And I thought this is really incredible’ seeing a barrier of smoke trying to jump over the Himalayas. So, we need to protect this planet, we need to be happy on this planet.

“As an astronaut onboard the ISS, I do value the oxygen and water and I do value the ability to breathe in clean atmosphere which we get for free on Earth. So, let’s keep this planet intact, tidy and clean,” he added.

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