UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi reveals what he wants to do first when he returns to Earth from International Space Station
Still from a video of Al Neyadi during 'A Call from Space' onboard the International Space Station in August Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: From health experiments in space to sleeping in microgravity, thousands of students have gained insights to life and work onboard the International Space Station (ISS) during ‘A Call from Space’ live sessions with UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.

Al Neyadi fielded questions from youth during a total of 12 live video calls organised in the UAE, USA and Mauritius, as well as seven ham radio sessions.

Before his return to Earth on Monday – after completing the longest Arab space mission – Al Neyadi most recently took part in A Call from Space on August 26, hosted by the Embassy of the UAE in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Before the video call, a panel discussion moderated by American comedian and TV personality Steve Harvey was held.

And earlier in August, Al Neyadi received a surprise when the Umm Al Quwain edition saw his children and his father, Saif Al Neyadi, making a surprise appearance.

‘Beacon of inspiration’

Just a week prior to that, Al Neyadi was praised during another live call – held at Louvre Abu Dhabi – by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who described him as “a beacon of inspiration for our younger generations”.

Previously, in July, the ‘Sultan of Space’ had the honour of speaking with Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, who said Al Neyadi was a role model for children and youth who are preoccupied with discovering the world of space.

The same month had seen an interaction between Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah, and Al Neyadi.

Earlier, in May, a special call to his hometown of Al Ain – on his birthday –heard Al Neyadi express his longing for his mother’s food.

Curious minds

During his maiden month in space, in March, Al Neyadi thrilled some 2,000 fans with a live call at Dubai Opera. They asked him questions about his schedule on the ISS, the scientific experiments being conducted on board the space station, how he communicates with his family and the challenges he faced while living in the unique environment of space.

Young students asked the Sultan of Space about how oxygen is produced, how astronauts keep things from floating in space, and how they keep track of time within the ISS.

During the call, Al Neyadi demonstrated how he is getting familiar with the harsh environment of space by floating in all directions, and how they use velcro and other items to keep things from floating away. He also shared with the audience the kind of food he has and showed them how he eats candies and drinks water from a packet.

In numbers

-12 total calls from space

-10 held in the UAE

-1 in the USA

-1 in Mauritius

-10,000 people total in audience

-240 minutes of live calls in total

-7 ham radio sessions

-500 participants

-70 minutes of live communication