Washington: The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Washington D.C., in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), hosted a live video call with UAE and US astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The event was hosted by UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba and featured senior officials from MBRSC and Nasa. US comedian, TV show host, author, and radio star Steve Harvey conducted the talk.
The UAE and US are close partners, cooperating in the exploration of space and fields of aeronautics research and science. In addition to participating on missions on-board the ISS, future UAE astronauts are training with their counterparts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
During the event, UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and Nasa astronaut Warren ‘Woody’ Hoburg reflected on their time aboard the ISS as members of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 Mission, as both near the completion of their sixth month on the orbital laboratory.
Al Neyadi recently broke the record as the longest-serving Arab astronaut in space. He also completed the first-ever Arab spacewalk in April, adding the UAE to the ranks of only nine other countries that have taken a spacewalk from the ISS.
On his trip to the ISS, Al Neyadi commented: “Being an astronaut was a childhood dream of mine. Growing up in a remote area of Al Ain — a region with sprawling skies and minimal light pollution — I would look up at the stars every evening and ponder about the possibilities surrounding space exploration and travel. And here I am now on the International Space Station, with colleagues from Nasa and around the world, as part of an amazingly diverse, harmonious space family.”
The video call with the astronauts was preceded by a panel discussion emceed by American comedian and TV personality Steve Harvey, which focused on UAE-US cooperation in space.
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Salem Al Marri, Director General of MBRSC; Karen Feldstein, Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations at Nasa; and Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the UAE’s first astronaut, each remarked on the importance of bilateral collaboration to advance scientific discovery.
Reflecting on the strength of UAE-US cooperation, UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba noted: “Even hundreds of miles above the Earth, UAE-US collaboration is strong. From the Hope Mars probe to astronaut training, to the current mission on-board the ISS, our nations are working together to advance scientific discovery and provide a more hopeful path forward for our young people.”
MBRSC’s Al Marri said: “At MBRSC, our foundational belief is that collaboration drives progress. Our enduring partnership with Nasa stands as a testament to this belief, and reflects our mutual commitment to scientific excellence, technological innovation and the advancement of humanity’s understanding of space and beyond. Sultan Al Neyadi’s achievements during his six-month mission are not just milestones for the UAE, but a reflection of what we can achieve when we come together with shared purpose and vision.”
In her remarks, NASA’s Feldstein stated: “The partnership between Nasa and the UAE in human space flight is an example of how much can be accomplished when nations come together in pursuit of shared goals. In addition to Sultan Al Neyadi’s long-duration mission on the International Space Station, Nasa and the UAE are cooperating on the historic Emirates Mars Mission, partnering in research to better understand how to keep our crews healthy in space, and contemplating future activities beyond low-Earth orbit at the Moon and beyond.
"As founding signatories of the Artemis Accords, Nasa and the UAE are also continuing to work toward safe and responsible space exploration. We look forward to welcoming Sultan back to Earth and to determining the next big step in Nasa-UAE space cooperation.”
In attendance at the event were a number of diplomats, current and former US government officials and students.
This event was the final installment of the MBRSC’s popular ‘A Call from Space’ series which has engaged diverse audiences across the UAE over the course of AlNeyadi’s mission aboard the ISS.