UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has revealed his first selfies taken from inside the International Space Station.
The images were shot in front of the cupola — an observatory on the station that offers breathtaking views of the Earth.
Dr Al Neyadi, 41, arrived at the orbiting science laboratory on Friday for a six-month mission.
“From space, I salute Earth. I salute our homeland and its leaders,” he tweeted on Wednesday, along with the pictures.
“I salute all those who carried Zayed’s ambition in their hearts and aim high to the sky. The dream has come true and now we dream bigger.”
Dr Al Neyadi travelled to the station with his three crewmates on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
He is part of Expedition 68/69 and will take part in more than 200 experiments assigned by Nasa and 19 given to him by various UAE universities.
As a flight engineer on the ISS, Dr Al Neyadi will also be carrying out maintenance tasks on the station, and could also perform the first spacewalk by an Arab astronaut.
He spoke to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on a live video chat on Tuesday.
“We are thankful you have reached the International Space Station and thank God for your safety,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“I would like to let you know that the youth of the UAE and the Arab world are taking you as an example and wish you all the luck.”
“Thank you, Your Highness,” said Dr Al Neyadi.
“Hopefully people will follow in the footsteps of my brother [first UAE astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri] and mine. This is what we hoped for.”
The trip to space for Dr Al Neyadi comes after five years of rigorous training around the world.
He was one of the first two astronauts chosen by the UAE in 2018, alongside Maj Al Mansouri, who became the first Emirati in space the following year.
Dr Al Neyadi trained in Russia, parts of Europe and Canada, as well as completing Nasa’s basic training programme in Houston. He also did mission-specific training for this trip.
He has learnt to speak Russian, spent hours every day in space simulators to familiarise his body with the effects of microgravity, trained to fly supersonic jets and completed spacewalk training.