sultan al neyadi on iss
File picture of Al Neyadi's first selfie from space Image Credit: Twitter/@Astro_Alneyadi

Dubai: UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is on the longest Arab space mission on the International Space Station (ISS) has had a date with ‘Destiny’—a laboratory module on the space station—for life support maintenance.

Al Neyadi and NASA astronaut Steven Bowen partnered together during the morning inside the Destiny laboratory module working on life support gear yesterday, NASA said. The duo took turns collecting water samples and replacing components from inside Destiny’s oxygen generation system.

The US Laboratory Module, called Destiny, is the primary research laboratory for the US payloads, supporting a wide range of experiments and studies contributing to health, safety, and quality of life for people all over the world. Science conducted on the ISS offers researchers an unparalleled opportunity to test physical processes in the absence of gravity.

“The results of these experiments will allow scientists to better understand our world and ourselves and prepare us for future missions,” said NASA.

Exciting experiment

In April, the ‘Sultan of Space’ had taken part in a heart experiment in Destiny which he had described as one of the experiments that he was most excited about prior to his launch to the ISS. At the laboratory module back then, he had looked at heart tissue samples in a microscope to observe microgravity-induced changes in heart cells and learn how to prevent cardiac disorders on Earth and in space.

Prior to working on the latest life support maintenance, the last assignment the Al Neyadi and Bowen completed together was their historic spacewalk on Friday.

The duo wrapped up the 261st spacewalk or Extravehicular Activity (EVA) in the vacuum of space outside the ISS after seven hours and one minute. The spacewalkers had laid cables and installed insulation on mounting brackets on the starboard truss of the station for the installation of the next pair of iROSAs.

While Al Neyadi’s was the first ever spacewalk by an Arab astronaut, Bowen completed his eighth EVA in his career.

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Next major task

They spent Tuesday preparing for their next major assignment—relocation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship that launched them to ISS.

For this mission coming up on Saturday, they will join the other two crew members of their Crew-6 team NASA astronaut Woody Hoburg and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos.

NASA said the four crew members will enter the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour and move the spaceship to a new station port. NASA flight engineers Bowen and Hoburg respectively will command and pilot Endeavour while flanked by fight engineers Al Neyadi and Fedyaev.

The quartet will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 7.10am (3.10pm UAE time) and then redock to Harmony’s forward port at 7.53am (3.53am UAE time).

The Crew-6 astronauts, who are now part of the Expedition 69, joined each other on Tuesday and checked the pressure suits they will wear during their short ride inside Dragon. The foursome also reviewed their relocation procedures, checked vehicle hatches, and configured the spacecraft cabin, NASA said.

NASA TV is covering the Dragon relocation activities live with the broadcast set to begin at 6am (2pm GST) on Saturday.