Sultan Al Neyadi spends week doing space plumbing and heart health research

Emirati astronaut repairs the bathroom on the International Space Station

Sultan Al Neyadi during his chat with members of the public in an event at Dubai Opera.  Pawan Singh / The National
Powered by automated translation

UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has spent the past week doing repairs to the bathroom on the International Space Station and acted as a test subject for a heart health study.

It is the third week on board the orbiting science laboratory for the Emirati astronaut, who is the first Arab astronaut to go on a long-duration space mission.

He has had a busy schedule since arriving at the ISS on March 3 for a six-month stay, including doing maintenance work, filming content and conducting live video calls with pupils as part of an education campaign.

"Nasa flight engineer Frank Rubio and flight engineer Sultan Al Neyadi from the UAE were tasked with removing and replacing a toilet," Nasa said in a statement on March 15.

"Al Neyadi also repaired damages to paint on a stall wall."

Sultan Al Neyadi shows us how to make coffee in space

Sultan Al Neyadi shows us how to make coffee in space

Astronauts have numerous roles on the ISS, such as carrying out experiments for scientists on the ground, maintaining the laboratory, botany work, spacewalks to repair or install new equipment on the exterior of the station and professional-level photography.

It is going to be no different for Dr Al Neyadi, who has already been taking part in activities that range from complex science investigations to repairing equipment.

On March 16, he had to work on the space station's bathroom again.

"Al Neyadi replaced components in the station’s bathroom, also known as the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, before performing a functionality test," Nasa said.

The space station has a $23 million toilet that was installed in 2020, making it the most expensive one yet assembled.

The titanium toilet has a new design and shape and is meant to be more accommodating for women.

Dr Al Neyadi spent the day on Monday wearing a bio-monitor garment ― a device that measures a person's physiological parameters ― and headband.

"The instrument is equipped with sensors to measure physiological parameters to assess the effect of space travel on heart health," Nasa said.

He also worked with his American colleagues to install ice bricks into the station's freezer for temperature conditioning.

The cold storage unit is called the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory for ISS (Melfi) and helps preserve biological samples that are being used for experiments, such as blood, saliva, urine, microbial matter or plants.

Fresh supplies, including experiments and food, arrived on the station on March 14.

The astronauts transferred all of the cargo from the Dragon spacecraft into the ISS.

There are seven astronauts on board the station ― three Americans, three Russians and one Emirati.

Four astronauts, including two Americans and two Saudis, will fly to the ISS on May 12 as part of a privately-led mission by Axiom Space.

They will spend 10 days there, carrying out 20 science experiments.

It means there will be three Arabs in space together at the same time ― a record number.

Sultan Al Neyadi tells UAE residents about life in space - in pictures

Updated: March 23, 2023, 3:30 AM