UAE's next historic space mission: Meet the astronauts who will join Sultan Al Neyadi on journey to ISS

The Emirati astronaut, who underwent training at SpaceX in the US along with the other crew members, is now getting ready for the launch scheduled next month

by

Nandini Sircar

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(From left) Andrey Fedyaev, Stephen Bowen, William Hoburg, and Sultan Al Neyadi, the members of Crew 6 mission — Supplied photo
(From left) Andrey Fedyaev, Stephen Bowen, William Hoburg, and Sultan Al Neyadi, the members of Crew 6 mission — Supplied photo

Published: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 1:41 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 4:38 PM

The UAE is set to make space history again — exactly one month from today — with Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi blasting off to the ISS for a long-haul mission.

Al Neyadi has been training, working hard for this landmark journey together with three other astronauts from across the globe. The Crew 6 mission is proof that the quest to study the cosmos knows no geographical boundaries: It's all about science and humanity, the team said in a media conference held on Wednesday evening.


“Once you get to space, it's just one crew. One vehicle. And we all have the same goal. Having had the opportunity to train in Russia, over the past number of years, we focus only on the mission. That's what we are there (in space) for," said Nasa commander Stephen Bowen.

Besides Bowen and the UAE's Al Neyadi, the other members of the crew are American pilot William Hoburg and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.


The Emirati astronaut, who underwent training at SpaceX in the US with the rest of the group, is confident that they have made a good team for the mission.

“I think we all complement each other — be it the background that we trained from or the language. When we run an emergency procedure, we have different people dealing with it. Andrey might talk to the Mission Control Centre in Moscow… so it's all like a group activity. We complement each other and achieve our goal. In our case, in case of an emergency, the safety of the crew is paramount. Overall, I think we are a good team together,” Al Neyadi said.

Bowen agreed, saying the multicultural crew is "well balanced".

"Everybody seems to be able to fill in the gaps wherever we have them. It's just an incredibly talented group of people who have had the opportunity to train together. I think the advantage to having the multicultural crew is fairly obvious. Having a Russian cosmonaut on board really balances it out. So, each of the countries will always have some presence on the ISS," he said.

The four astronauts are preparing for a February 26 blast-off. They will be taking off in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre.

Fedyaev said that with this mission, they are "setting the example of how people should be living on Earth".

"The life of people in space on the International Space Station is really setting a very good example for how people should be living on Earth," he said.

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