Dubai: UAE astronauts Sultan AlNeyadi and Hazzaa AlMansoori have officially completed the European Space Agency (ESA) Columbus training for the SpaceX Crew 6 mission under the UAE Astronaut Programme, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced on Saturday.
The two Emirati astronauts are preparing for the first Arab long-duration astronaut mission as part of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Mission 6 (Crew-6) that will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in February next year.
AlNeyadi will serve as the primary crew member who will conduct scientific experiments aboard the ISS for six months; while AlMansoori - the first Emirati astronaut to go to space in 2019 - will serve as the mission back-up.
According to MBRSC, both AlNeyadi and AlMansoori completed “intense training, including handling Expedition 69’s payloads, doing routine maintenance and responding to contingencies. Both astronauts went through theoretical and practical sessions. The entire training took place at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) located in Cologne, Germany”.
The Columbus lab module, which contains a full set of scientific research equipment, is ESA’s largest single contribution to the ISS and the first permanent European research facility in space.
AlNeyadi and AlMansoori conducted exercises related to cabin maintenance, quick response to the scenario of water leakage from the laboratory, cabin temperature control and handling of presumed faults in the laboratory.
MBRSC said Crew 6 will launch to ISS from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, in mid-February next year. Aside from AlNeyadi, the other crew members are commander Stephen Bowen, pilot William Hoburg, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
Crew-6 will spend about six months on the space station, beginning with a brief handover from Crew-5, who arrived in October at the microgravity laboratory for a science expedition.
MBRSC said: “During the mission, AlNeyadi will conduct numerous in-depth and advanced scientific experiments as part of the second mission of the UAE Astronaut Programme that will pave the way for future UAE missions and further push the capabilities for journey beyond Earth.”