Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah, today witnessed the 8th edition of A Call from Space with Al Neyadi. Image Credit: Twitter

Sharjah: Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah, today witnessed the 8th edition of “A Call from Space” series, hosted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in collaboration with the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Sharjah Academy of Astronomy, Space Sciences & Technology (SAAST) and University of Sharjah.

The meeting, which took place at the Academy’s headquarters, began with the UAE’s national anthem and was attended by more than 800 participants, including scientists, academics, students, and residents of the Emirate of Sharjah.

In his opening speech, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi extended a warm welcome to astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, highlighting the importance of the Sharjah Academy of Astronomy as a hub for academic research in the field of space science.

Sheikh Sultan expressed pride in Al Neyadi’s representation of not just the UAE, but also the Arab and Islamic world. He addressed Al Neyadi, saying, “We take great pride in your presence at this station as you represent us admirably. We hope that you, as well as those who have come before and those who will follow, serve as exemplary ambassadors not only for the UAE but for the entire Arab and Islamic world.”

Sheikh Sultan acknowledged the considerable attention Sultan Al Neyadi has received during his space mission and expressed that he personally keeps tabs on the progress being made. He stated, “We are closely following all the activities you undertake on the ISS, including scientific experiments and research. I take a personal interest in your endeavors, and even observe the International Space Station as it traverses the UAE’s skies, often capturing photographs. Today, we get an inside look through our communication with you in this meeting.”

The Deputy Ruler of Sharjah extended his gratitude to Sultan Al Neyadi for engaging with researchers and the residents of Sharjah by answering their queries. He wished him success and extended an invitation to visit the Sharjah Academy of Astronomy.

He emphasised the importance of sharing the knowledge and experiences gained through his mission with the students and researchers of the University of Sharjah.

Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who embarked on the longest space mission in Arab history aboard the International Space Station, expressed gratitude to Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi. He spoke of his personal inspiration drawn from visiting the planetarium at the Academy in his early years and acknowledged the Academy’s role in encouraging young individuals to pursue space sciences.

Al Neyadi shared information and scientific research related to his mission and engaged in a Q&A session, answering questions on his experiments aboard the International Space Station and his experience of life in space.

The event also showcased the Zayed’s Ambition Mission through a photographic presentation. Emirati astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi shared their experiences in the UAE Astronaut Program.

They talked about the challenges they faced during the training period, such as language barriers, adapting to different terrains, and balancing professional and social life. They emphasized the support they received from leadership, family, and friends, and the importance of discipline, focus, and passion in achieving goals.

Adnan Al Rais, Director of Zayed Ambition 2, presented an overview of the UAE Astronaut Program which began in 2017. He discussed the intensive training that astronauts undergo, including operational management, emergency response, and scientific training in physics, chemistry, and geology.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi also received a detailed overview of human space exploration efforts from the moon landing to the establishment of the International Space Station. He learned that the UAE is the first partner from outside the International Space Station, making it the 11th country to send astronauts on long-term missions.

The Call from Space series is an initiative by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and is funded by the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority’s Information and Communication Technology Fund. The series aims to engage the public in space science and provide a platform to interact with Emirati astronauts.