Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed congratulates Sultan Al Neyadi on start of space mission

UAE astronaut will spend six months onboard the International Space Station

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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, has congratulated Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who has successfully begun his six-month mission on board the International Space Station.

The UAE and the whole Arab world stand with Dr Al Neyadi as he embarks on a milestone journey, Sheikh Hamdan said.

Dr Al Neyadi, 41, is the second Emirati to travel into space ― after Hazza Al Mansouri's eight-day stay on the ISS in 2019 — and the first Arab to undertake a long-duration mission.

"Congratulations on your arrival, Sultan and we thank God for your safety," Sheikh Hamdan tweeted on Friday evening.

"All the Emirates and Arabs stand with you as you begin your mission from inside the International Space Station.

"We were counting the seconds and we were looking forward to recording a new achievement that carries Zayed's ambition."

Dr Al Neyadi will take part in more than 200 experiments assigned by Nasa and 19 others involving UAE universities.

He could also possibly perform the first spacewalk by an Arab astronaut.

“I would like to thank my mum and dad and the leadership of the UAE,” Dr Al Neyadi said during a welcoming ceremony on the station.

“And the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre who trusted me for this mission.

“I can't be happier than this. Seeing old friends in space and gathering as a big family in space."

Dr Al Neyadi said the mission reflected the essence of space exploration.

"The UAE is taking great steps in pushing the boundaries in exploration and co-operating with spacefaring nations,” he said.

The Dragon capsule, which carried Dr Al Neyadi and his three crewmates, docked on the ISS at 10.40am UAE time.

The astronauts, who are now called Expedition 68 crew members, entered the station at 12.40pm.

Dr Al Neyadi travelled with Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowing and Woody Hoburg and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.

Updated: March 03, 2023, 3:21 PM