Sultan Al Neyadi posts picture from ISS of plane flying over Iraq

Emirati astronaut says photograph taken at altitude 40 times higher than commercial aircraft

Sultan Al Neyadi has posted a photo of Iraq from the International Space Station. Twitter/ Sultan Al Neyadi
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Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has posted a picture taken from the International Space Station, showing a commercial plane flying over marshland in Iraq.

Mr Al Neyadi says the ISS is orbiting the Earth at an altitude 40 times higher than the plane, which appears in the picture as a speck with a vapour trail.

The image also shows an area of relatively isolated Hawr Al Dalmaj marshland, a spot popular with tourists and one of Iraq’s endangered wetlands that thrives with migratory birdlife.

“I took this photo with a 400mm camera lens as a plane passed over Iraq,” Mr Al Neyadi said in a tweet. "Commercial planes typically fly about 10km above the Earth's surface, while the ISS is 40 times higher.

Mr Al Neyadi is weeks away from returning to Earth, currently on the ISS’s Expedition 69, with space station commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg and Frank Rubio, and cosmonauts Andrey Fedyaev and Dmitri Petelin.

On Saturday, he tweeted about one of his duties on the ISS, saying how he helped with vital life support tasks for the crew, changing filters “to keep our air safe and clean”.

“Breathing fresh and clean air on Earth is quite easy and uncomplicated,” he said.

“However, aboard the ISS, things are not that simple. We require devices such as air filters to obtain pure air.”

Mr Al Neyadi, who arrived on the ISS on March 3, was the first Arab to perform a spacewalk when he carried out maintenance work in April, in a seven-hour operation alongside Mr Bowen.

Updated: July 24, 2023, 7:00 AM