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A view of Earth from the Cupola on the earth-facing side of the International Space Station. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The ‘Sultan of Space’ on Thursday morning shared a video of how he watched his ‘permanent home’ from his ‘temporary home for six months’!

Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE second astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station (ISS) for the longest Arab space mission, shared the video of Earth as seen from the Cupola of the ISS.

“Sharing with you my first views of Earth from the Cupola Observational Module aboard the ISS,” he tweeted.

A view of the Earth from Cupola module Image Credit: @Astro_Alneyadi

Al Neyadi also shared a valuable message. “The further we journey from Earth, the more we realise just how precious it truly is. Let us cherish and preserve this incredible planet we call home.”

In the video, Al Neyadi can be seen talking in Arabic and English.

He greeted everyone saying Assalamu alaikum (Peace be upon you) and said in Arabic that he would be showing the visuals of the Earth from the Cupola.

As he floated towards the Cupola, he encountered astronaut Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) from Crew-5 taking pictures from the Cupola.

After exchanging greetings, Al Neyadi told Wakata, “I am gonna share this moment with everybody!”


What is the Cupola?
The Cupola is an European Space Agency (ESA)-built observatory module of the International Space Station. Its name derives from the Italian word cupola, which means "dome". Its seven windows are used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of Earth.

He said the ISS was over Africa as he captured the first visuals of the Earth.

“This is absolutely amazing,” he said.

“This is the best place we can monitor and see our beautiful planet,” he said, as he panned the camera across the Cupola.

He showed the Canadarm robotic arm fixed outside the ISS. “Yeah, we have the arm, the SRMS,” he said. The Canadarm is officially known as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System or SRMS.

On Wednesday, Al Neyadi had shared his first selfie from the Cupola, thus fulfilling his dream that he had shared prior to the historic launch.

Prior to his launch to ISS, Al Neyadi had said he would carry a camera for taking photos of watching Earth through the cupola.

“All astronauts run towards the Cupola to watch Earth or see Earth from there. I want to do it differently. I want to go there with a camera, hopefully. So I want to share that moment with everybody. I want to capture that moment of looking back, back towards Earth with everybody. Yeah, so that’s probably the moment I’m looking forward to,” he had said in a NASA podcast.

ISS flies higher

According to NASA, ISS orbits Earth at an average altitude of approximately 250 miles (400km) at a speed of 28,000km per hour. However, it adjusts its orbit as and when necessary, especially to avoid colliding with space objects.

As Al Neyadi floated inside and captured the visuals of the Earth from the Cupola, the ISS station flew slightly higher from its regular orbit.

“The space station is orbiting slightly higher today after the docked ISS Progress 83 cargo craft fired its engines for five minutes and 17 seconds this afternoon. The new orbital altitude readies the unoccupied Soyuz MS-22 crew ship for its upcoming departure following a coolant leak that was detected in December of last year,” NASA said in a blog post earlier on Thursday.

Advance science work

In the latest post, NASA said the four new Expedition 68 crew members [of SpaceX Crew-6] are getting used to life in space while four other crewmates [of Crew-5] are preparing to go home this month. “Also, today’s research includes replacing fuel bottles in the Combustion Integrated Rack and collecting samples for the Food Physiology and Host Pathogen experiment.”

The new Endeavour crew is continuing to adjust to life in orbit, while the Endurance crew is preparing for their return to earth by cleaning, completing stowage and inventory tasks, and preparing personal items for return, NASA said.

Late on Wednesday night, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai also tweeted images of the Crew-6 members.

“Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi and his Crew-6 colleagues have started to work on their tasks aboard the ISS. Sultan is seen in the Japanese KIBO module which hosts experiments that focus on different fields including space medicine, biology and Earth observation,” said MBRSC.