Sultan Al Neyadi

Sultan Al Neyadi set off for the ISS

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi travelled to the International Space Station in a Dragon capsule mounted on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Along with the 41-year-old Emirati, the crew included US astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, as well as Russia’s Andrey Fedyaev.

The crew will spend 22 hours in flight to reach the orbiting science lab. Sultan Al Neyadi will conduct around 20 experiments commissioned by UAE universities, as well as research work commissioned by NASA and maintenance of the station.

Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati to fly in space in 2019, watches his counterpart from the Mission Control Centre. The spacecraft launch was broadcast live on the websites of NASA, SpaceX and MBRSC, as well as on social media.

Sultan Al Neyadi will stay on the ISS for a full six months. This will make the UAE the 11th country in history to send its citizen on such a long-term space journey. The Emirati had earlier revealed that he would not observe the Muslim-mandated fast during his space mission as it was not mandatory in his case.

“I fall under the definition of a traveller who is allowed not to fast. Generally, fasting is not compulsory for anyone who is not feeling well. So if anything threatens our mission or crew members, we are allowed to eat enough food,” Sultan Al Neyadi said.

The launch of SpaceX’s reusable manned spacecraft Crew Dragon was originally scheduled for February 27, 2023, but it was cancelled two minutes before liftoff due to a technical malfunction in the launch complex system.

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