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Sultan Al Neyadi aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: Screengrab/NASA

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai interacted with astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s second astronaut who is on the longest Arab space mission on the ISS, on Tuesday.

Watch the broadcast of what it called “the ISS Expedition 68 in-flight event” .

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In his live public video call, Al Neyadi the UAE’s second astronaut who is on the longest Arab space mission on the ISS, interacted with Sheikh Mohammed from his new home for six months.

Sheikh Mohammed: Hello Sultan, and Thanks God for your safe arrival.
Sultan: Thank you Your Highness

Sheikh Mohammed: UAE and Arab youth wish you good
Sultan: Thank you Your Highness, and I still remember what you told my colleague Hazza Al Mansouri
Sultan: I am the happiest person, me and others will follow in the footsteps of my colleague Hazza Al Mansouri.
Sultan: A crew will leave the station, and my crew will conduct experiments, including one that bears a UAE stamp.

Sheikh Mohammed: Congratulations to you Sultan.
Sultan: Thank you Your Highness for this call.

Mohammed bin Rashid interacting with Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi at the International Space Station: "Praise be to God for your safe arrival at the International Space Station... The youth of the UAE and the Arab region follow you and wish you success in your mission... Congratulations and may Allah protect you"

“During my conversation today with Sultan Al Neyadi, the first Arab astronaut on a six-month long mission on the International Space Station ... Sultan opens up new opportunities for our youth and raises the bar of our next generations’ ambitions. He represents a bright part of our future,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

The Dubai Ruler emphasised that the UAE has earned its place among the stars thanks to the tireless efforts of its sons and daughters, and the hard work of several taskforces, and that the best is yet to come.

These efforts began with the establishment of the MBRSC, followed by the creation of the UAE Space Agency, the launch of the National Space Strategy, and several programmes to train Emiratis in science and space-related fields. However, Sheikh Mohammed noted that the ultimate aspiration began in the 1970s with Zayed’s dream and determination to explore space and etch the name of the UAE not only on earth but also in the sky.

“Your safe arrival at the ISS is a source of pride for all of us, and a motivation for all Emiratis, Arabs and the global youth who follow you. I always say that everything is possible for the people of the UAE, and our strong will makes the impossible possible,” Sheikh Mohammed said to AlNeyadi.

Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the scientific experiments carried out by Sultan since his arrival at the station on Friday. He was informed that the planned scientific programme is on track and provides an opportunity for the UAE to collaborate with international space agencies in conducting research, particularly on the effects of zero gravity on the human body and how to mitigate its risks in the future.

The Emirati dream

Sheikh Mohammed added: “Our journey started more than 50 years ago from the desert without any capabilities, and today our flag has reached space and flies around Mars. Your compatriot astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri started the journey in 2019, and today we continue the journey of developing national competencies in the space sector and writing new chapters in our exceptional journey.”

Sheikh Mohammed emphasised that the UAE is sending a new message of development to the world, demonstrating how to create a new reality and a brighter future for the region by prioritising education, knowledge-sharing, and leveraging technology to unlock new opportunities.

“The Emirati dream does not allow for setbacks or complacency. Every dream we have is followed by a greater dream that surpasses expectations and breaks new ground. Space has opened its doors to us, and Emiratis are effectively contributing to the global scientific and knowledge renaissance,” he said.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed, in the presence of Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation; Talal Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Vice President, MBRSC; Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC; and Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General of MBRSC, listened to astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri explain the details of the Zayed Ambition 2 mission, and the research and experiments that the Crew-6 team will conduct during their six-month stay on the ISS.

Al Mansouri was the first Emirati astronaut to reach the ISS as part of the “UAE Astronaut Programme” overseen by the MBRSC.