UAE’s Sultan Al Neyadi will be the first Arab astronaut to join an International Space Station (ISS) mission for a period of six months. Also known as the back-up for Hazzaa AlMansoori in the UAE’s first scientific mission to ISS in 2019, Al Neyadi has now been handpicked from a group of astronauts at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to embark on a six-month project as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 Mission in Spring 2023.
Earlier this year in April, the UAE announced the initial launch of the space mission to the ISS with the MBRSC and signed a contract of strategic cooperation in human spaceflight with Axiom Space, a leading Texas-based infrastructure and Aerospace company. This contract confirmed Neyadi’s spot in next year’s space mission. Al Neyadi was grateful for his selection for the colossal project and expressed his gratitude by thanking Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on his personal Twitter account.
Before taking on his full-time role as an astronaut, Al Neyadi, with a Ph.D. in Information Technology, was down the career path of security engineering for the UAE Armed Forces, showing his consistent involvement and contribution to the UAE forces in different, but exorbitant ways. As per the protocol followed by all the ISS astronauts that came before him, Al Neyadi concluded his two years of mandatory astronaut training, covering the basics of spacewalking, survival training, and other hereditary matters.
During his time in space, the 41-year-old astronaut will be expected to perform a number of in-depth and technically advanced experiments, as part of the UAE astronaut program. However, Al Neyadi will be accompanied by his fellow NASA astronauts, Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg; both serve their roles in the mission as spacecraft commander and pilot respectively. While the astronaut was carefully selected due to his techy skills and scientific expertise, an exchange between Axiom Space and NASA was also what prompted his selection on the Crew-6 even further.
Crew-6, the mission Neyadi is set to take part in is bound to be the sixth operational astronaut mission that SpaceX flies to the ISS for NASA.