UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi in the presence of other Crew-6 members delivering his last speech aboard ISS ahead of his return home. Image Credit: Screen grab of MBRSC video

Dubai: Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi delivered a heartfelt farewell speech aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as he wrapped up his historic participation in the Crew-6 mission.

Al Neyadi, who spent six months aboard the ISS, expressed gratitude to everyone who played a part in the successful completion of the mission. As the longest Arab space mission nears completion, Al Neydai is set to return from the ISS on September 3. He will be accompanied by Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoberg, as well as Russian cosmonaut Andrey Vidyaev.

Departing the ISS on September 2 aboard the Dragon spacecraft, the team is expected to land near Tampa, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico the following day (Sunday, September 3). Having done over 200 scientific experiments, the first-ever Arab spacewalk and after spending over 1,000 hours of space operations, Al Neyadi is returning from the International Space Station (ISS) after six months.

One family

During his last speech aboard ISS, Al Neyadi said: “Thank you to everyone who helped us accomplish this historic mission. The six months of scientific research aboard the ISS were incredible.” He went on to emphasise the collaborative spirit of the team on board, stating, “We worked here as one family, for lofty goals, aiming to benefit and serve humanity. The time flew by, and we’re thankful to our Lord for it.”

He also hinted at future space missions, encouraging people to “follow us, as we continue to spread knowledge once we’re back on Earth.”

Al Neyadi’s journey to the ISS commenced on March 3, aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavor vehicle. His mission, lasting six months, is recognised as the longest mission in Arab history. This landmark mission, launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre under the UAE Astronaut Programme, marked the first long-duration stay for an Arab astronaut aboard the ISS.

Wonderful time

In his last video from the ISS, Sultan shared his experiences, stating, “The wonderful time we spent here was amazing; six months went by so quickly. We accomplished a lot, from AVAs and scientific research to outreach activities. It was particularly special for me, representing a region where space flights had paused for over 30 years. I felt an obligation to showcase life aboard the ISS, aiming to rekindle enthusiasm for space exploration in our region.”

He also expressed his eagerness to embark on future missions and advised newcomers to savour every moment of their space journey.

Live streaming

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai, the agency behind the UAE Astronaut Programme, will be broadcasting Al Neyadi’s historic journey back to Earth in two live-streaming sessions on its website on September 2 and 3.

Live coverage details

The live coverage will be as per the following schedule

September 2: Undocking from the International Space Station

Live coverage: 3pm onwards

Undocking scheduled for 5.05pm

September 3: Return to Earth

Live coverage: 8.30am onwards

Scheduled splashdown time: No earlier than 8.58am.