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Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, interacts with Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi during the Call from Space' event held in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in partnership with the General Secretariat of Ras Al Khaimah’s Executive Council, hosted the sixth edition of ‘A Call from Space’ event at the Higher Colleges of Technology — Ras Al Khaimah Women’s Campus on Wednesday.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, graced the occasion with his presence and interacted with Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi who is on the longest Arab space mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The event was also attended by a number of Sheikhs and key officials, including Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani and Salem Humaid AlMarri, vice chairman and director general of MBRSC respectively, as well as heads of Ras Al Khaimah government departments.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi asserted that the UAE, under the leadership of the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is delivering exceptional scientific achievements that are enhancing the country’s position in the field of space exploration across the Arab world and internationally.

He said: “Creative Emirati minds are overcoming challenges, harnessing space science and inspiring our people to make further strides towards our objectives for comprehensive sustainable development, supported at every step by a wise leadership that provides all the ingredients for success.”

“We are immensely proud of what Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi continues to achieve through research and discovery during the longest space mission ever conducted by an Arab, aboard the International Space Station,” said Sheikh Mohamed.

He asserted that Ras Al Khaimah strongly believes in supporting and empowering young people to enhance their capabilities and deepen their understanding of science and technology, an ambition that stems from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. “Today, we take great pride in the successes of the Emirate’s people, who continually express their unwavering will and strong desire to elevate the UAE’s name and standing across numerous fields,” Sheikh Mohamed said.

Life aboard ISS

Al Neyadi welcomed Sheikh Mohamed, and said: “We are deeply honoured by your presence today and express profound gratitude for your steadfast support.”

He shared his excitement at being able to engage with the attendees, adding that it was “a privilege to interact with everyone at the esteemed Higher Colleges of Technology — Ras Al Khaimah Women’s Campus” and shared more about his life aboard the ISS.

The event saw a turnout of more than 1000 attendees from schools, universities and government entities. Through a live interactive discussion, Al Neyadi had the opportunity to respond to questions from students and officials about how to transport water in space and monitor climate change, and how he would return to the Earth.

Younger audience members also asked if there were robots in space, and which activity Al Neyadi found the most enjoyable on the ISS, to which he replied that he loved to do somersaults in weightlessness of the orbital laboratory.

Nurturing leaders

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, chairman, MBRSC, said: “We are grateful to Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi for his gracious presence. The enthusiasm displayed by students and guests today was a testament to the curiosity that will propel the next generation towards the boundaries of space and scientific discovery. Such interactions serve as catalysts, sparking the curiosity of a new generation of pioneers. Our ambition extends beyond hosting these events; we aim to instill a culture of innovation, and nurture future leaders who are prepared to make significant strides in the UAE’s flourishing space sector.”

Salem Humaid Al Marri, said: “We appreciate Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi’s gesture to grace us with his presence, which added value to this significant event. We also extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the attendees who joined us today. The scientific endeavours that drive missions such as that undertaken by Sultan Al Neyadi aim to enrich our existence and guide humanity towards a greater understanding of the universe. Through ‘A Call from Space’, we aim to bridge the gap between space and Earth, facilitating an exchange of knowledge and sparking the public’s interest in space exploration.”

The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage.