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Sultan Al Neyadi — only the second Emirati to fly to space — blasted off on his six-month mission on March 2 Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and the rest of Crew 6 successfully docked on to the International Space Station (ISS) today. He will embark on the longest Arab space mission in history. Gulf News covered the Crew-6 mission’s arrival and welcome ceremony at ISS. 

Here are the events as they happened today:

First words of a Najmonaut (Arab astronaut) on the historic long-duration space mission from abroad the ISS!

“Luckily, I survived the first stunt!” Al Neyadi said as he received the mic to speak, making the crew members laugh. He then sought to speak in Arabic first, starting with Shukran Jazeelan (thanks) to everybody.

Later, he added in English: Thank you everybody for this opportunity. I would like to thank my family, my parents, the leadership in the UAE, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre that gave me the trust to to conduct this mission. I can't be happier than this…I mean seeing all friends in space, gathering as a big family. This is the essence of space exploration. The UAE is taking great steps towards pushing the boundaries of exploration and cooperating with the spacefaring nations to explore more to seek new endeavors into space. So, again, I said it before, but here again, Go Dragon! Go SpaceX!

Hamad Al Mansoori, chairman of MBRSC speaks to Al Neyadi in Arabic while he is with the crew. 

Hatch opens and astronauts can now float in. Sultan Al Neyadi makes history entering the ISS for the longest Arab space expedition.

Ready for hatch equalisation which is expected to take 2 minutes

The six crew on board the Dragon Endeavor are now in the final stages of securing their spacecraft prior to hatch opening. They are storing their spacesuits before the opening of the hatch.

Crew-6 preparing for hatch opening. The astronauts are now out of their spacesuits.

Mann reported that we're ready to equalise the pressure on both sides of the docking interface right at that vestibule juncture point.

Hatch opening expected in 25 minutes. Crew-5 given go to proceed with ingress part 2.

On board dragon, Crew-6 is in the process of getting out of their launch suits and getting into more comfortable clothing, as they prepare to float in.

Hatch opening in 45 minutes. 

Sultan welcomed to ISS with Ahlan Wa Sahlan message from Houston ground station.

Ahlan wa sahlan to ISS

Dragon, This is Houston on the big loop. Sultan, Andrey, Woody and Steve, Ahlan wa sahlan, Pozhalovat and welcome to the International Space Station, from our training teams, execution teams and your friends and family. We're all so incredibly proud of you and excited for your expedition. You guys really are living testimony that the ISS is a joint human effort and your unique crew truly exemplifies that. Now let's work towards getting this hatch open. So you can hug your crew mates.

Crew-6, Welcome to ISS

Dragon completes docking sequence on ISS Image Credit: NASA live broadcast/Screengrab

Dragon docking sequence complete as hard capture completed

Six of 12 hooks required for hard capture driven.

Docking took place above Somalia. Right now they're pausing to allow international space station altitude to configure. 

Soft capture confirmed as Dragon Endeavour docks on to ISS. Next will be closing of 12 hooks for hard capture.

International Docking Adapter (IDA) is a physical connecting point for spacecraft with ISS. But it is a metaphorical gateway to a future inside the ISS for the astronauts

'We are looking good 10m and closing'

There will be a soft capture first followed by a hard capture.

Confirmed: A solution has been identified and a software override will be pushed through by the ground control teams up to Dragon Endeavour. Then there will be another hold for ‘go for docking’ and the crew will then receive final instruction.

Crew asked to pull down visors and be ready for final approach

Dragon is in go for docking.

We have a software override command that will allow Dragon to continue to docking. Again teams have verified that Dragon is in the correct docking configuration.

SpaceX and NASA live broadcasters continue to assure that the vehicle is healthy, Crew-6 members are comfortable even after an over 24-hour flight and they have plenty of time for rendezvous opportunity.


Crew-6 pulled up their visors and relaxing as they are holding 20 metres away from the ISS. Ground station to do software override to disable the faulty hook five switch.

Ground is still working on investigating a path forward. The docking system is configured as expected, but believe we will require a software override to continue with docking.

Even if they do need to abort the docking today, they could make their way with plenty of propellant to a 24 hour safe trajectory and reattempt. They have a 2 hour margin to the Waypoint 2 but they will not run out of fuel.

Dragon on hold at Waypoint due hook 5 micro switch issue. There are several hooks that will securely hold dragon to the docking port during the hard capture.

Ground stations will investigate this and give further commands for next steps.

Everything is go from ISS and Dragon Endeavour ready for docking. Dragon has arrived at Waypoint 2. It will pause and configure for seconds for approach 2

Crew will close visors 20m away from the ISS. Soft capture ring allows the Dragon to be pulled into the ISS

Dragon now just 250m away from ISS...

This is the fourth ISS trip of Dragon Endeavour. 

Crew-5 can’t wait to see Crew-6. That means they get to go home soon, SpaceX narrator jokes... Crew-5 member Josh Cassada is in charge of making preparations to welcome Crew-6 aboard the ISS. The ship is less than 400 metres from ISS.

Dragon uses hypergolic propellants, rocket propellant combinations, whose components can spontaneously ignite when they come into contact with each other.

Sultan Al Neyadi and crew to pass over UAE now...

View from ISS of the Dragon
View from ISS of the Dragon Image Credit: NASA live broadcast/Screengrab

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Dragon is now in the “Keep out sphere.” It is the second imaginary shepherd around ISS. Crew-5 member Josh Cassada is in charge of making preparations to welcome Crew-6 aboard the ISS.

The International Space Station is now above Germany.

Dragon set to dock into the Zenith docking port on ISS’ Harmony module and 400m away from the station. Trajectory complete at Waypoint 0.

Look! Live view of the Dragon Endeavour in space. 

Live view of the Dragon Endeavour in space
Commander Stephen Bowen (left) and pilot Warren ‘Woody’ Hoburg (right)

Suit leak checks initiated, commander Stephen Bowen confirms.

The spacesuits custom-fitted to each astronaut have 3D printed helmets. Suits are pressurised to check for leaks.

Sultan Al Neyadi has completed the process of putting the suit on. Live visuals from inside the capsule expected soon. Ground station ready to go for next sets of contracts for docking. Crew being asked to close visors, undergo suit leak procedures. 

On Friday morning, NASA revised the time of docking from 10.17am to 9.45am [UAE time], indicating that the Dragon is ahead of its schedule for docking to the station.

He will script a new chapter in ‘Zayed Ambition 2’ by carrying out the UAE Mission 2 as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission that lasts for six months aboard the ISS.