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Sultan Al Neyadi becomes first Arab astronaut to join ISS mission

The Emirati astronaut will join NASA’s Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg alongside Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev.
Photo credit: Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has named Sultan Al Neyadi as the first Arab astronaut to join the six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The UAE astronaut will fly to the orbiting lab on SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission, which is expected to launch in 2023.

In April, the UAE announced the launch of the space mission to the ISS, with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) signing strategic cooperation in human spaceflight with Axiom Space.

Al Neyadi tweeted: “My selection as the first Arab astronaut for a long-duration mission is a great honour and responsibility that I accept with a strong desire to raise the UAE flag high in space once more.”

Al Neyadi was selected among several Emirati astronauts to be the first Arab astronaut to engage in a long-term space mission to the ISS. He will join NASA, SpaceX and Crew-6’s mission scheduled for launch in the first half of 2023 from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre.

Before becoming an astronaut, AlNeyadi, 41, was a network security engineer for the UAE Armed Forces and holds a PhD in information technology, according to his International Astronomical Federation biography. Like other ISS-assigned astronauts, he has completed about two years of basic astronaut candidate training in spacewalks, survival training and other matters.

During the mission, Al Neyadi will conduct many in-depth and advanced scientific experiments as part of the UAE Astronaut Programme.

Crew-6 will be the sixth operational astronaut mission that SpaceX flies to the ISS for NASA.

AlNeyadi will join NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg; they will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, aboard Crew-6.

Sultan Al Neyadi will serve as a mission specialist on the SpaceX Crew-6 mission.

In September 2019, Al Neyadi served as a backup for astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri for UAE’s first mission to the ISS.