Dubai: When will the homecoming of the UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi take place? The question has today been answered by a top official of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the agency behind the UAE Astronaut Programme.
Adnan Al Rais, mission manager of the UAE Astronaut Programme at MBRSC, on Monday revealed that Al Neyadi will be flying into the UAE after two weeks. Initial reports had said Al Neyadi was expected back home after a rehabilitation phase of at least three weeks.
Speaking during a NASA SpaceX media teleconference post the Crew-6 members’ successful return to Earth, Al Rais said: “He [Al Neyadi] will spend like 14 days here in Houston. And after that he will be back in the UAE for almost a week.”
A grand reception is planned for the Sultan of Space who is returning home after successfully completing the longest Arab space mission. After the celebrations to mark his historic achievements which include the first-ever spacewalk by an Arab and over 200 scientific experiments in space, Al Neyadi will return to the US, Al Rais confirmed.
“Then again, he will be back here in Houston to continue to do science experiments.”
The Dragon Endeavour that brought the NASA SpaceX Crew-6 back to Earth also carried samples of science experiments carried out by the Expedition 69 crew members.
At around 10.10am here, a NASA official confirmed that the Crew-6 members had started boarding a helicopter from the SpaceX Recovery Vessel Megan.
“From the recovery ship, they will get on the helo [helicopter] and they’ll fly to Jacksonville. And that’s where they’ll meet up with a NASA aircraft and then they’ll fly from there back to Houston,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme.
Around 3,000 orbits
Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station (ISS) Programme of NASA, said the Crew-6 had an outstanding landing.
“This crew spent 184 days onaboard the International Space Station. So adding the day up and the day down, 186 days in space for our crew. They did just under 3000 orbits of the Earth. And this crew saw seven visiting vehicles come and go to the International Space Station and performed just under 250 experiments, utilisation, research and technology demonstration,” he added.
In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, travelling through 16 sunrises and sunsets. Thus, in 184 days, the Crew-6 aboard the orbital laboratory orbited the Earth 2944 times.