Meet UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his SpaceX Crew-6 mission colleagues

Team will launch into space on February 26

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The UAE is set to mark another milestone next month when Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi takes part in the Arab world’s first long-duration space mission.

Dr Al Neyadi, 41, is part of Nasa and SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission, scheduled to take-off on February 26 from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The project comes three years after the Emirates' first astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri entered space on a Russian Soyuz rocket for an eight-day trip to the International Space Station.

Dr Al Neyadi will spend six months on the orbiting ISS science laboratory, carrying out hundreds of science experiments.

He will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with three crew members — two Nasa astronauts and one from Russia.

Here The National delves a little deeper into Dr Al Neyadi and his colleagues.

Sultan Al Neyadi

Born in Al Ain, Dr Al Neyadi was the first of two Emiratis to join the UAE’s astronaut corps in 2018.

The father of five was the back-up astronaut for the country’s first mission to space in 2019.

In this, his first trip into space, he will serve as mission specialist during the 22-hour flight to the ISS.

There, he will assume the role of operator and carry out maintenance work, experiments and possibly even participate in spacewalks.

Dr Al Neyadi has spent the vast bulk of his life in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, but he has been in the US for the past three years training with Nasa astronauts.

He comes from an IT background, having served as a network security engineer for the Armed Forces for many years.

He holds a doctorate in information technology from Griffith University in Australia and a degree in electronics and communications engineering from the University of Brighton in England.

Stephen Bowen

Mr Bowen, 59, is an experienced astronaut, having logged more than 40 days in space, including seven spacewalks.

He joined Nasa in 2000 and has served on four Space Shuttle missions, including on an ISS assembly mission.

Stephen Bowen inside a Dragon mock-up crew vehicle, taking part in training at the SpaceX base in Hawthorne, California. Photo: SpaceX

He will serve as spacecraft commander during the Crew-6 flight to the ISS.

The father of three was born in Massachusetts and has a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Before joining Nasa, he was a submarine officer for the US Navy.

Warren ‘Woody’ Hoburg

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr Hoburg joined Nasa’s astronaut corps in 2017.

This will be the 37 year old's first space trip, in which he will serve as pilot of the Dragon spacecraft.

Warren Hoburg takes a breather during a SpaceX training session. Photo: SpaceX

He has a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Before Nasa, he worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes Product Development and is also a commercial pilot.

Mr Hoburg was an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, where he taught undergraduate courses on dynamics and flight vehicle engineering.

Andrei Fedyaev

Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev, 41, will serve as mission specialist on the flight to the ISS.

He joined Russia’s astronaut corps in 2012 and this will be his first trip to space.

He has an engineering degree in air transport and air traffic control from Balashov Military Aviation School.

Sultan Al Neyadi and Andrei Fedyaev take a break from training for the mission, in Florida. Photo: SpaceX

After graduation, he joined the Russian Air Force and logged more than 500 hours flying various aircraft.

A crew swap agreement between Nasa and Roscosmos has led Mr Fedyaev to be part of the Crew-6 mission.

The deal allows each space agency to maintain a continuous presence of its respective astronauts on the ISS.

Updated: January 24, 2023, 10:49 AM
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