A new Emirati in space
A new Emirati in space
© SpaceX

A new Emirati in space

On board the Crew Dragon capsule launched on March 2 towards the International Space Station is the Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who will spend six months around the Earth as part of the Crew 6 mission.

Toward the ISS

On March 2 at 5:34 a.m. UTC, a SpaceX Falcon 9 launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, sent the Crew Dragon Endeavour capsule to the International Space Station.

On board, two American astronauts, Stephen Bowen (59 years old, 4th space flight) and Warren Hoburg (37 years old, 1st flight, Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyev (42 years old, 1st flight) and Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi (41 years old, 1st flight).

The latter is the first representative of the Arab world to settle for a six month stay aboard the orbital complex.


Doubling as Hazza al-Mansouri

A native of Um Ghafa, near the Rub al-Khali desert in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Al Neyadi is a telecommunications engineer with a degree from the University of Brighton, England, and a doctorate from Griffith University, Australia.

He was working on social networks for the UAE Armed Forces when he was selected in September 2018 by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), among 4 022 astronaut candidates.

The following April, he had been appointed to be the understudy of Hazza al-Mansouri, who, between September 25 and October 3 2019, led the highly publicized UAE Mission 1.

The outbound trip was made with the Soyuz MS 15, and the return flight used the Soyuz MS 12.

A program including 16 scientific experiments was developed, and many educational actions were implemented.


In Houston since the fall of 2020

When negotiations began with Roscosmos, the state-owned enterprise in charge of the Russian space program, for a long-term stay of an Emirati astronaut aboard the ISS, the choice naturally fell on Sultan Al Neyadi.

But it was finally on a Nasa crew rotation flight that he was officially assigned in July 2022, with the MBRSC purchasing his seat through Texas-based Axiom Space.

Meanwhile, in the fall of 2020, the man who has been dubbed " the sultan of space " started his training at the Johnson Center in Houston, Texas.

In particular, he found himself alongside Nasa's Astronaut Group 23, which was formed in December 2021, and received his astronaut pin in early May 2022.

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