Crew-7 Launching, As Sultan Al Neyadi Returns to Earth
The departure of UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his crew will be marked by the launch of a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday.
New Crew to ISS: Al Neyadi's Mission Nears Conclusion
Crew-7, comprised of astronauts from the US, Denmark, Japan, and a Russian cosmonaut, is all set for liftoff aboard a SpaceX rocket from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre.
Subsequently, a handover ceremony will be held a few days after their arrival on the orbiting outpost, signaling the conclusion of Dr. Al Neyadi's six-month stint on the ISS. This development paves the way for his return to Earth, with the departure currently scheduled for September 1, The approval for Crew-7's launch was granted during an online media briefing organized by Nasa and SpaceX.
Preparations to Bring Dr. Al Neyadi Home
During the briefing, Amer Al Sayegh, an assistant director general at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, which oversees the UAE's astronaut program, affirmed their readiness to facilitate Dr. Al Neyadi's return. He voiced deep pride in the substantial contribution of UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who actively participated in over 200 experiments that greatly advanced scientific knowledge and understanding.
Return Plans and Departure Procedures
Dr. Al Neyadi's journey back to Earth will be aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, alongside Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, as well as Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev. The undocking from the ISS is slated for next Friday, initiating a 24-hour voyage to Earth and culminating in a splashdown off Florida's coast. Preparations for the lengthy trip have already commenced, involving a thorough review of departure procedures and the utilization of specialized garments aimed at facilitating their body's transition back to Earth's gravity.
Post-Return Plans and Historic Achievements
Dr. Al Neyadi will undergo extensive medical examinations in the US after landing on Earth before making a quick trip back to the UAE to take part in festivities honoring his outstanding accomplishments. His accomplishments as the first Arab astronaut to launch on an extended space mission and complete a spacewalk will live on in his legacy. This accomplishment builds on that of his coworker Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut to travel to space in 2019.
Next Steps for UAE Astronauts
As Dr. Al Neyadi prepares to reacclimate to life on Earth, the UAE's astronaut corps is forging ahead with its visionary endeavors. Comprising Nora Al Matrooshi, the first Emirati woman astronaut, and Mohammed Al Mulla, the corps is currently undergoing rigorous training at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Their anticipated graduation early next year will mark an important milestone, rendering them eligible for upcoming US-led space missions.