Video Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, on Tuesday received astronauts Sultan AlNeyadi, Hazzaa AlMansoori and Mohammad AlMulla, along with the UAE Mission 2 team from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), during a barza at Qasr Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Mohamed engaged with Al Neyadi and AlMansoori, diving deep into the details of the Arab world's longest space mission. He commended the team on the success of the mission and for realising the late Sheikh Zayed's ambition through the journey. With AlMulla, Sheikh Mohamed discussed the recent training sessions he underwent with Nora AlMatrooshi, paving the way for upcoming human spaceflight missions.

In a poignant gesture, Al Neyadi presented Sheikh Mohamed with a framed image showcasing the UAE at night alongside another image of Abu Dhabi in daylight captured by him from space. AlMansoori also handed over a cherished memento from his first space mission: a framed picture of Sheikh Mohamed paired with the UAE flag that journeyed with him to space.

Underlining the significance of their achievements, Sheikh Mohamed lauded Al Neyadi and AlMansoori for inspiring the youth of the UAE and the Arab world while also pushing boundaries in the UAE's relentless journey towards progress. He further congratulated the UAE Mission 2 team at MBRSC for their support and dedication throughout the mission.

Al Neyadi shared his experience and insights about his six-month mission aboard the ISS to Sheikh Mohamed. He also shed light on the pioneering experiments and collaborations with international space entities and recounted moments of the first Arab spacewalk, which lasted 7 hours and 1 minute.

Meanwhile, AlMansoori, who was the first Arab increment lead, elaborated to Sheikh Mohamed on his pivotal role in Expedition 69, narrating his experiences in aiding Al Neyadi and coordinating various tasks with crew members from the Mission Control Center in Houston.

The MBRSC team, led by Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman, MBRSC, and  Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC, along with members from the mission, emphasised their gratitude to Sheikh Mohamed, acknowledging his steadfast support. The team also provided an overview of the UAE Astronaut Programme while highlighting future missions.

Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman, MBRSC, said, "His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's visionary leadership and unwavering support have been the foundation upon which the aspirations of countless Emirati achievements have been built. Our meeting with Sheikh Mohamed serves as an affirmation of our nation's commitment to pioneering the frontiers of space. Through strategic foresight and alignment with the rapidly advancing space sector, we are poised to not only foster our nation's talents but also shape the future of space exploration. Taking forward the legacy of our founding fathers, we are invigorated to make even greater strides in space science and exploration."

Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC, said, "We are thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his visionary leadership and guidance as we chart the roadmap for the future of the space sector in the UAE. The success of the mission undertaken by Sultan signifies a pivotal leap in MBRSC's journey, laying the foundations for a series of ambitious spaceflights that lie ahead. We aim to continually elevate innovation, exploration, and discovery in the field of space."