Sultan Al Neyadi shares stunning image of UAE from space station

Emirati astronaut says views of home from orbit 'took my breath away'

The Arabian Gulf, as seen from the International Space Station. Photo: Dr Al Neyadi Twitter
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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has shared his first image of the UAE from the International Space Station.

Dr Al Neyadi, 41, arrived on the science laboratory on March 3 for a six-month mission. The image, taken about 420km above Earth, shows striking views of the Emirates and the Arabian Gulf.

“No matter where I am in the world, my path always leads me home,” he said.

“And even from space, the sight of our beautiful country takes my breath away every time.”

The UAE is a popular location for astronauts in space to photograph because of how distinct landmarks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are from low-Earth orbit.

Dr Al Neyadi is the second Emirati in space, following his colleague Hazza Al Mansouri's eight-day trip to the ISS in 2019.

The father of six started his journey in the UAE's space programme in 2017, when he applied to become an astronaut.

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

After serving as a backup on the country's first mission to the ISS, he was finally selected as a primary astronaut for the Arab world's longest duration mission in space.

On March 2, Dr Al Neyadi was blasted off to the ISS on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

He will be carrying out 219 science experiments assigned to him by Nasa and UAE universities.

They include studying human heart tissue for changes in heart muscle cells' mitochondria — their power supply — and ability to contract in low-gravity conditions.

Researchers from the John Hopkins Medicine are behind the research and have teamed up with Nasa.

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Updated: March 14, 2023, 8:51 AM