UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi along with NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen during his historic spacewalk on Friday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi will soon be completing two months in space after launching from Cape Canaveral in Florida with his Crew-6 team members on March 2.

His historic spacewalk - the first by an Arab - lasted 7.01 hours in the vacuum of space on the starboard side of the International Space Station (ISS)’s truss structure, accomplishing two key objectives.

One of the objectives of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA), undertaken by AlNeyadi along with NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen, was to work on a series of preparatory tasks which involved routing power cables, which was successfully concluded. These cable works were completed as a precursor to the installation of the Space Station's fourth roll-out solar array, known as the International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), which is scheduled to be delivered on the upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

The next objective was to retrieve a crucial Radio Frequency Group (RFG) unit. This communications antenna, or RFG will stay bolted on the station for now due to the difficulty of removing it.

Key experiments

Besides the historic spacewalk,  for his second month aboard the Space Station, AlNeyadi has also conducted multiple experiments.

Here’s a look at his major accomplishments in addition to the spacewalk:

• Collecting air samples from the Destiny and Columbus laboratory modules before cleaning the Veggie space botany facility. The samples were analysed for research purposes.

• Sending approximately 1,950kg of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo back to Earth on a Dragon cargo spacecraft, as part of the 27th contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft splashed down off the coast of Tampa, Florida in the US earlier this month.

Sultan Al Neyadi
Sultan Al Neyadi aboard the action-packed ISS where he has conducted several experiments. Image Credit: MBRSC/Twitter

• Setting up the hardware for the CapiSorb Visible Systems fluid physics study. This experiment investigates the potential of using a liquid-based carbon dioxide removal system to promote more efficient space-based solutions and advanced Earth-bound applications.

• Treating samples In the Kibo laboratory module for the Engineered Heart Tissues-2 experiment using Kibo’s Life Sciences Glovebox. This research may help doctors treat, as well as prevent, space-caused heart conditions and Earth-bound cardiac disorders.

• Working on two technology experiments. In the first experiment, AlNeyadi demonstrated the use of a 3D printer to manufacture tools, components, and experiments on the orbital outpost. The second experiment entailed collecting and stowing samples in a science freezer for a study exploring the biomanufacturing of pharmaceuticals in space.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is a project managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage.

MBRSC thanks UAE leadership

With the spacewalk and other achievements, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has marked a new milestone in the UAE's space exploration journey.

Thanking the UAE leadership for their support, Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman, MBRSC, said, “The UAE Mission 2 is a truly inspiring endeavour that embodies the spirit of Emirati excellence and determination to achieve greatness in all our pursuits. From its inception as the longest Arab space mission to the historic appointment of the first Arab increment lead on an ISS expedition, and now continuing with the groundbreaking achievement of the first Arab spacewalk by Sultan AlNeyadi, this mission has set a new standard for excellence in space exploration.

Hamad Obaid AlMansoori

"Under the patronage of the wise leadership, this remarkable milestone not only represents the UAE’s unwavering commitment to consolidating its position as a dominant force in space, science, and technology but also serves as a powerful motivator for future generations to strive for knowledge and innovation with boundless enthusiasm and dedication.”

Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC, said, “Sultan AlNeyadi’s spacewalk has generated an unprecedented level of excitement and interest within the public, underscoring the immense significance of this mission. We are grateful to our visionary leadership for their unwavering support and guidance, which has enabled us to realise this ambitious goal and set the stage for even greater achievements in the future.

Salem Humaid AlMarri

"While Sultan is conducting ground-breaking scientific experiments on the ISS, the addition of the spacewalk showcases yet another dimension of the UAE’s remarkable expertise in space exploration. This milestone achievement will play a critical role in restoring the International Space Station to its full operational capability, cementing the UAE’s position as a leading contributor to the global space community.”

Adnan AlRais, Mission Manager, UAE Astronaut Programme, MBRSC, said, “The historic achievement of the first-ever Arab spacewalk by Sultan AlNeyadi, as part of the longest Arab space mission in history, represents a remarkable milestone for the UAE.

Adnan AlRais

"From the outset of the UAE Astronaut Programme journey, our astronauts have always set their sights on achieving the extraordinary, and with unparalleled skill and determination, they have risen to the challenge in a way that has captivated the world’s attention.

"As we celebrate this momentous achievement, we look eagerly to the future with great anticipation, as a new cadre of UAE professionals prepares for future missions that will enable them to further showcase our nation’s growing capabilities in the field of space exploration.”