Sultan Al Neyadi completes Dragon capsule relocation mission

The Emirati astronaut stepped out of the ISS for a second time on Saturday to move shuttle

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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and three colleagues have redocked a Dragon spacecraft to another docking port at the International Space Station.

This was the spacecraft Dr Al Neyadi, Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev had arrived in to the ISS on March 3.

Nasa instructed the astronauts to redock the capsule from the station's Harmony module to the orbiting lab's forward Harmony port to clear up space for other spacecraft arriving later this month and in June.

"The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour redocked to its new port and completed its relocation maneouver at 8:01am ET today," Nasa said.

The astronauts undocked from the ISS at 3.23pm GST on Saturday and a redocking took place at 4.01pm.

They have to stay in the capsule for two hours after redocking, so it is safe to open the hatch between the spacecraft and the ISS.

The relocation helped clear a dock for another Dragon spacecraft that is arriving later this month, bringing two Saudi astronauts and two Americans for a 10-day stay on the ISS.

It is also clearing space for cargo vessel that is expected to arrive in June.

Once the cargo spacecraft departs in late June, the crew will re-dock their spacecraft back at the original spot, so Boeing's Starliner spacecraft can dock on the forward Harmony port.

Nasa broadcasted the 43-minute-long task by live stream on its website and social media channels.

Mr Bowen served as the commander of the mission and Mr Hoburg was the pilot, al though, the capsule flies autonomously.

Dr Al Neyadi and Mr Fedyaev assisted with the transition manoeuvre.

Dr Al Neyadi and Mr Bowen stepped out of the ISS a week after their seven-hour spacewalk.

Dr Al Neyadi went into the record books as the first Arab to perform a spacewalk.

The astronauts spent the weekend preparing for the relocation.

“The quartet began Friday on morning by simulating their spacecraft manoeuvres in co-ordination with mission controllers on the ground,” Nasa said on Friday.

“Afterward, the foursome held a space-to-ground conference with the controllers discussing training, procedures and mission readiness.”

Freeing up a parking spot

The CRS-28 cargo mission will arrive in June carrying solar arrays to be installed during a spacewalk that month.

Dr Al Neyadi and Mr Bowen helped prepare a part of the ISS for the installation during their spacewalk on April 28.

Sultan Al Neyadi's historic spacewalk on April 28 — in pictures

Updated: May 06, 2023, 12:37 PM