Sultan Al Neyadi's return to Earth delayed until September 2

It will be a 24-hour journey back home, with a splashdown expected off the coast of Florida

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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi's return to Earth has been delayed by a day to help Nasa and SpaceX adjust their flight schedule on the International Space Station.

Dr Al Neyadi and his three Crew-6 colleagues will depart on Saturday, instead of Friday as initially planned.

The trip home aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule will take 24 hours, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida on Sunday, September 3.

Their replacement crew, Crew-7, had their launch pushed back by a day, causing the schedule to be changed.

“Another crew is set to return to Earth this weekend after beginning its space station mission in March,” Nasa said.

“Nasa astronaut Stephen Bowen, commander of the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, will lead Nasa Pilot Woody Hoburg and mission specialists Al Neyadi and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos when they end their mission as Expedition 69 flight engineers.

“The quartet is scheduled to undock Endeavour no earlier than Saturday, September 2, and splashdown off the coast of Florida.”

Crew-7 arrived at the station on Sunday. A handover ceremony will be held in a few days, in which the remaining activities of Dr Al Neyadi and his colleagues will be given to the new ISS residents.

Dr Al Neyadi became the first Arab astronaut to go on an extended mission and the first Arab to perform a spacewalk.

“Sultan and Crew-6 are now preparing to return to Earth, and we are ready to welcome them back,” Salem Al Marri, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, which oversees the UAE's astronaut programme, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Dr Al Neyadi spent his time on the station conducting more than 200 science investigations and outreach activities.

He will spend his first few days back on Earth undergoing medical tests in the US, before returning to the UAE to attend celebrations.

He will then travel back to the US for more mission debriefing.

Once he is in the UAE for a more extended stay, he will participate in nationwide roadshows to share his experiences.

Nasa will release the schedule of Dr Al Neyadi's return and splashdown at a later date.

Updated: August 30, 2023, 4:54 PM