Dubai: During the live broadcast of the arrival of the UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s Crew-6 to the International Space Station, spectators spotted a “little astronaut” floating along with him on board the ISS.
Al Neyadi had introduced ‘Suhail,’ the fifth crew member of the SpaceX Crew-6 in his first ‘space-to-ground’ address on Thursday.
A tiny stuffed toy mascot of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the agency behind the UAE Astronaut Programme, Suhail is accompanying Al Neyadi as the “zero gravity indicator. It is considered as a symbol of celestial bodies’ influence in Arab culture.
Turning heads, Suhail secured a spot in history books as he floated above Al Neyadi when all 11 astronauts aboard the station posed for a historic group photo.
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While congratulating Crew-6 on their successful arrival to the ISS, Hamad Al Mansoori, chairman of MBRSC, congratulated Suhail also, addressing him as the “little astronaut Suhail.”
MBRSC on Friday released a video showing Suhail’s space odyssey and reiterated that it was not his first mission in space as he had accompanied first Emirati astronaut Hazaa Al Mansouri to the ISS in 2019. He is wearing a SpaceX spacesuit this time.