President Sheikh Mohamed has congratulated UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi on his return to Earth.
Dr Al Neyadi and three fellow astronauts arrived back on Earth on Monday, after departing the International Space Station 17 hours earlier.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying them splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at 8.17am UAE time.
Dr Al Neyadi gave the thumbs up as he emerged from the Dragon capsule aboard SpaceX support vessel Megan.
“Sultan Al Neyadi, the people of the UAE are immensely proud of you and the entire team for achieving major advances in space exploration,” Sheikh Mohamed wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“You carried the dreams of a nation to new frontiers, and we celebrate your pioneering journey and safe return,” said Sheikh Mohamed.
The mission was the UAE's second human space flight and the Arab world's first extended mission. It also marked the first time an Arab astronaut performed a spacewalk.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said Dr Al Neyadi's achievements inspired millions of young Arabs.
“We congratulate the people of the Emirates and all Arab youth on the safe return of Sultan Al Neyadi to planet Earth – the first Arab astronaut on a long mission to the International Space Station,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote.
“Sultan conducted 200 scientific research missions … and spent more than 4,400 hours in space … and inspired millions of Arab youth that we are able to contribute positively to humanity's scientific and cultural journey.”
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, wrote of Dr Al Neyadi's safe return on X.
“We congratulate the people of the Emirates on the safe return of Sultan Al Neyadi to Earth after the completion of the longest space mission in the history of the Arabs,” he wrote.
Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai, also shared his congratulations, saying how UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, had put the country on a path of exploration.
“With Zayed's ambition, we moved from the desert to space,” said Sheikh Hamdan.
“Today with the return of Sultan Al Neyadi after completing the longest space mission in the history of the Arabs, we are crowning an important stage in the march of a people who do not know the impossible.
“From today, we are preparing for other tasks in our journey to embrace the stars so that the UAE continues to spread hope,” he said.
Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed, chairman of Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, said Dr Al Neyadi's achievements are a reflection of the aspirations of the UAE.
“The success of the Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi in his six-month mission aboard the International Space Station is only a reflection of the aspirations of a country that set out from the desert to embrace the space stars with its aspiration and achieve qualitative and historical achievements that established the name of our country regionally and globally as the first Arab country to accomplish the longest space mission in Arab history,” Sheikh Mansoor wrote on Twitter.
“We are proud of Sultan and all the youth of the Emiratis who sow hope for a better future in the hearts of millions of Arab youth. Thank God for your safety, Sultan,” he said.
In a message to Dr Al Neyadi, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, president of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman of Dubai Airports, wrote: “Your International Space Station journey is a testament to Sheikh Mohamed's visionary leadership, in taking our nation's nascent space industry to a new frontier,” he wrote.
“Congratulations to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the UAE on this monumental achievement.”
Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE President, said the country's ambitions are “limitless”.
“Zayed's ambition is transformed by his children into reality so that the UAE continues to reap the fruits of the leadership's vision and invest it in education, youth and future,” he wrote.
“Sultan Al Neyadi returned to Earth, and our ambition in space and our aspirations remained limitless, so that the UAE could continue to be a home of excellence and leadership.
“Thank you as big as the sky for the leadership that believes in the youth of the Emirates and their capabilities,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed, the chairwoman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, shared her congratulations on social media.
“Today unveils a new chapter in the UAE's journey of possibilities,” she wrote.
“We congratulate Sultan Al Neyadi, our space envoy, on his safe return to Earth, fulfilling a new national aspiration after the success of the longest Arab astronaut mission. We thank God for your safety.
“Your journey has proved that the impossible is possible and this is just the beginning,” she said.
After leaving the Dragon capsule, Dr Al Neyadi, Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev were due to board a helicopter to Tampa, Florida.
From there they were set to take a flight to Houston, Texas, to be reunited with their families.
Then, they will take part in medical tests, which could take up to two weeks.
Dr Al Neyadi will then return to the UAE to take part in celebrations being held in his honour.
He will then return to the US for a full mission debriefing.