Dubai: Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi — headed to Florida on — Tuesday night for the UAE’s Mission 2, the first long-duration Arab astronaut mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Al Neyadi is slated to take off on a Space X spacecraft, Crew-6 Dragon (Dragon Endeavour), for a six-month mission aboard ISS on February 26 from Launch Complex (LC) 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on February 26.
Earlier on Tuesday, Al Neyadi shared a photo of him running alone in a deserted location in Houston, where he and the three other crew members of Crew-6 Dragon have been on a mandatory two-week quarantine period that began at the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre on February 12.
“One last run in Houston before we head to Florida tomorrow,” Al Neyadi tweeted, adding, “Go Crew-6,” with an emoji of a rocket.
On Tuesday evening in the UAE, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) tweeted a link to NASA’s live coverage of the arrival of Al Neyadi and his Crew-6 colleagues at the Kennedy Space Centre from 9.30pm.
Earlier on Sunday night, Space X announced that the Crew-6 Dragon had arrived at LC-39A ahead of its flight.
In the latest video of Al Neyadi released by -MBRSC-, he is seen saying: “It’s a dream that I aim to achieve, representing the UAE and raising its flag aboard the International Space Station and continuing the journey started by [the first Emirati astronaut] Hazzaa Al Mansouri.”
Meanwhile, MBRSC has announced a social media contest through which people can send videos wishing luck to Al Neyadi. “Record a message to astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi wishing him luck on his mission. Send it to us via inbox and we will share the best messages on our social media accounts. Winners will get exciting prizes,” MBRSC posted.
The UAE Mission 2 will be live from 7.30am on Sunday on the website of MBRSC. The launch of the mission is expected to take place at 11.07am here.
The UAE will become only the 11th country to carry out a long-duration astronaut mission. During the six-month mission, Al Neyadi will conduct scientific experiments and research alongside an outreach and education programme which will see him interacting with students in the UAE.