UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and crewmates complete Florida launch rehearsal

Lift-off on mission to International Space Station is scheduled for February 27

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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his three crewmates have completed a rehearsal of their launch into space — which is scheduled for Monday at 10.45am GST.

The run-through, which took place on Friday, involved donning their SpaceX pressure suits, riding in Teslas to the launch pad and then boarding an unfuelled Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX announced that it has also completed a static fire test — a ground test where the rocket's engines are fired — to make sure it was flight ready.

“Crew-6, SpaceX and Nasa completed a full rehearsal of launch day activities,” SpaceX tweeted.

“Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete ahead of the Crew-6 mission to the space station.”

These were two crucial steps before the Falcon 9 rocket, with the crew Dragon capsule on top, can launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

Weather is currently 95 per cent favourable for a launch, according to the US Space Force.

There are back-up dates of February 28 and from March 2 to 4, if things do not go as planned.

Dr Al Neyadi and his colleagues arrived in Florida on Tuesday, and have been in quarantine since then.

They left their isolation quarters only for the launch rehearsal, with only those approved by Nasa allowed near them.

Dr Al Neyadi is set to spend six months on the International Space Station, carrying out 19 science experiments for various UAE universities and ones assigned to him and his crew by Nasa.

He will also do maintenance work on the ISS.

Dr Al Neyadi will become the fourth Arab in space and the second Emirati in space and on the space station.

Fellow Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri travelled to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket in 2019 for an eight-day mission.

UAE's Sultan Al Neyadi arrives at Florida launch site before historic space mission - in pictures

Updated: February 24, 2023, 12:40 PM