The United Arab Emirates (UAE) began one of its major space missions in 2023, with the Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the six-month mission, titled, “Zayed Ambition 2.”
The mission is one of a series of ambitious Emirati missions, which include the launch of MBZ-Sat and the arrival of the Explorer Rashid to the moon.
Zayed Ambition 2, a part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, is a crucial addition to the scientific achievements of the UAE’s space sector and will see Al Neyadi conduct 19 research experiments and advanced studies.
It is also the second mission to dispatch Emirati astronauts to the ISS.
The mission took off at 9:34 on Thursday from Complex No.39A at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
It is scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Friday, 3rd March, at 10:17 on board SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Al Neyadi sent a recorded message from the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft to the UAE’s leadership, his parents and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.
He spoke during the welcoming ceremony held at the station shortly after the crew’s arrival.
“I would like to thank my mom and dad and the leadership of the UAE”, he said.
“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.
“This is the essence of space exploration. The UAE is taking great steps in pushing the boundaries in exploration and cooperating with space-fairing nations. “Go Dragon, go SpaceX.”
Sultan Al Neyadi, undertaking the UAE Astronaut Mission 2, is the Mission Specialist of the Crew-6 mission, along with NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen (Spacecraft Commander) and Warren Hoburg (Pilot), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev (Mission Specialist). Crew-6 is part of Expedition 68/69 to ISS.
During the mission, Sultan Al Neyadi will collaborate with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) to conduct 19 scientific studies across a wide range of topics. These topics will include cardiovascular and immune system health, back pain, technical demonstrations, epigenetics, fluid science, plant biology, material science, sleep analysis, and radiation.
During the six months that astronaut Sultan will be spending on the ISS, the Emirate Literature Foundation will collaborate with MBRSC to produce a weekly broadcast filled with interviews, engaging facts, competitions, activities, and opportunities for all students in the UAE to ask the astronaut questions. The Centre aims to reach 20,000 students and children through the initiative, which is set to become a landmark in interactive education, bringing the groundbreaking and exciting work of the UAE’s space mission to life.
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