Dubai: In a special Father’s Day message from space, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is on the longest Arab space mission on the International Space Station, paid rich tributes to the UAE leaders and his own father.
Al Neyadi chose to honour the father figures in his life in his social media post on International Father’s Day on Wednesday.
He paid tribute to the Father of the Nation the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on behalf of the entire nation and his own dad Saif Al Neyadi.
In his tribute to the visionary Father of the Nation, Al Neyadi honoured Sheikh Zayed “whose dreams we’re privileged to live.”
Sheikh Zayed’s vision, wisdom, and determination have laid the foundation for the UAE’s progress and prosperity and the country’s space exploration had begun with his dream for the UAE to reach the stars one day. Al Neyadi is the second Emirati astronaut to embark on a space mission named after Sheikh Zayed.
An ambitious project of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Agency in Dubai, the UAE Astronaut Programme’s “Zayed Ambition 2” will see him live on board the ISS, doing scientific experiments in the microgravity environment of the orbital laboratory and exploring space and Earth from there.
Al Neyadi also saluted the President Sheikh Mohamed recognising him as an inspirational leader whose footsteps the nation strives to follow.
Along with the post, the astronaut shared a photo of Sheikh Mohamed’s visit to his house in Al Ain months ahead of his space odyssey, kept against the backdrop of a magnificent view of Earth from window 6 of the space station.
The historic picture taken in September last year shows Sheikh Mohamed having a conversation with Al Neyadi’s father and the astronaut himself, all three wearing masks during the COVID pandemic days.
In a tweet shared after the visit, Al Neyadi had said the President’s visit was “the absolute best motivation for me and all the people who work in the space sector in the UAE”.
“We promise you to do our best in representing our nation in the future space missions,” he had said.
In his Father’s Day message, Al Neyadi dubbed his dad Saif Al Neyadi as his “inspiration” and thanked him for being his “guiding light.”
A former military officer, Saif Al Neyadi had inspired his son to join the service before becoming an astronaut.
The son Al Neyadi had earlier acknowledged the invaluable support, encouragement, and teachings provided by his father, which have played a pivotal role in his personal and professional achievements.
Hours before his son blasted off to the ISS from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, US, on March 2, Saif Al Neyadi had said: “I’m really proud of Sultan, not because he is my son, but because he is a son of the UAE.”