UAE astronaut-turned-minister Dr Sultan Al Neyadi celebrates first anniversary of historic mission to ISS


Dubai: UAE astronaut-turned-minister Dr Sultan Al Neyadi on Sunday recalled his experience with microgravity as he marked the first anniversary of his record-breaking space mission.

Dr. Al Neyadi, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, carried out the longest Arab space mission and became the first Arab to conduct a spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS).

He took to social media to commemorate the launch of his historic mission.

“A year ago I lived my first moments aboard the ISS. I still remember every moment in microgravity with the crew,” she posted.

Dr. Al Neyadi was part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission that launched on March 2, 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked with the space station the next day.

While celebrating the beginning of his six-month long space odyssey, Dr. Al Neyadi highlighted the country’s continuing journey of exploration and discovery in space with two new astronauts graduating in a couple of days.

“This anniversary also coincides with an important milestone: the graduation of @Astronaut_Nora and @Astro_AlMulla from NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Class, just two days away,” he said.

He was referring to the second group of Emirati astronauts Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammad Al Mulla, who will graduate from the Johnson Space Center in Houston on March 5.

“The journey continues,” added Dr. Al Neyadi. He also shared images showing the rocket and spacecraft in which he took off into space, the Expedition 68 crew’s large family, and a group photo of him along with fellow UAE astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori, Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla.

Inspirational post

On Friday night, Dr. Al Neyadi shared another post recalling how the first launch attempt of the Crew-6 mission had to be canceled due to a technical problem.

“Last year, just 2 minutes before our scheduled launch to the ISS, our mission was canceled for technical reasons. This experience taught me that life doesn’t always go the way we want. There are challenging days when some may see obstacles as the end of their journey or as inevitable failures. However, others might see these setbacks as a brief pause that precedes achieving their goals.”

He then posed a question to his followers: “Which side are you on?” He also attached a photograph taken at Cape Canaveral, Florida, before the second launch attempt, with a rocket launch pad appearing on the horizon.

Sultan of Space will minister

The entire country had enthusiastically celebrated the historic space mission of its second astronaut, Dr. Neyadi, affectionately nicknamed the “Sultan of Space”. Landmarks across the country were adorned with messages promoting the UAE Mission 2.

Six months later, the country celebrated its return home after the successful mission, in which it also carried out more than 200 scientific experiments on the ISS.

UAE leaders hailed Dr Al Neyadi’s return as a moment of national pride and welcomed him to the new terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which was decorated exclusively for the occasion. He received several accolades and in January this year he was appointed Minister of State for Youth.

Two UAE astronauts to graduate from NASA training program on March 5

The Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) announced on Friday that Emirati astronauts Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammad Al Mulla, from the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Program, will graduate from the UAE Astronaut Candidate Class training program. NASA 2021 on March 5 at the Johnson Space Center. Space Center in Houston.

Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla’s training that began in January 2022 covered spacewalks, robotics, space station systems, mastering the T-38 jet and learning Russian.

The 2021 class features 10 NASA candidates along with Al Mulla and Al Matrooshi, who is also the first Arab female astronaut. At the graduation ceremony, each candidate will receive an astronaut pin, which indicates his graduation and qualifies him for future space missions.

(From left to right) Nora Al Matrooshi, Mohammad Al Mulla, Dr. Sultan Al Neyadi and Hazzaa Al Mansoori
Image credit: supplied

The Emirati astronauts for the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Program were announced in 2021 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. MBRSC had received 4,305 applications.


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