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25 June 2024

Mohammed bin Rashid speaks with Sultan AlNeyadi during Emirati astronaut’s first live call from ISS


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, held a live video call with Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, who is currently undertaking the longest Arab space mission on the International Space Station (ISS). AlNeyadi and his Crew-6 teammates docked with the ISS after a 24-hour flight onboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavor spacecraft to begin the longest Arab space mission, which will last six months.

During his live call from to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Sheikh Mohammed congratulated AlNeyadi on his safe arrival at the ISS. His Highness also commended the international accomplishments of the UAE and its citizens’ exceptional achievements.

His Highness emphasised that the UAE has earned its place among the stars thanks to the tireless efforts of its sons and daughters, and the hard work of several taskforces, and that the best is yet to come. These efforts began with the establishment of the MBRSC, followed by the creation of the UAE Space Agency, the launch of the National Space Strategy, and several programmes to train Emiratis in science and space-related fields. However, His Highness noted that the ultimate aspiration began in the 1970s with Zayed’s dream and determination to explore space and etch the name of the UAE not only on earth but also in the sky.

His Highness stated that the Arab region is in dire need of an inspirational role model to develop its scientific capabilities. The UAE’s achievements have provided a model not only for the region but also for the world, His Highness said, adding that AlNeyadi’s accomplishment today has fulfilled the dream of his fellow Arabs.

“Your safe arrival at the ISS is a source of pride for all of us, and a motivation for all Emiratis, Arabs and the global youth who follow you. I always say that everything is possible for the people of the UAE, and our strong will makes the impossible possible,” His Highness said to AlNeyadi.

Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the scientific experiments carried out by Sultan since his arrival at the station on Friday. He was informed that the planned scientific programme is on track and provides an opportunity for the UAE to collaborate with international space agencies in conducting research, particularly on the effects of zero gravity on the human body and how to mitigate its risks in the future.

His Highness said: “Our journey started more than 50 years ago from the desert without any capabilities, and today our flag has reached space and flies around Mars. Your compatriot astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri started the journey in 2019, and today we continue the journey of developing national competencies in the space sector and writing new chapters in our exceptional journey.”

Sheikh Mohammed emphasised that the UAE is sending a new message of development to the world, demonstrating how to create a new reality and a brighter future for the region by prioritising education, knowledge-sharing, and leveraging technology to unlock new opportunities. “The Emirati dream does not allow for setbacks or complacency. Every dream we have is followed by a greater dream that surpasses expectations and breaks new ground. Space has opened its doors to us, and Emiratis are effectively contributing to the global scientific and knowledge renaissance,” His Highness said.

Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi expressed his gratitude and deep appreciation for the unwavering support and follow-up of the wise leadership at all stages of the mission, and the UAE leaders’ keenness to prepare a promising generation of Emirati youth equipped with knowledge and sciences to participate in the march of global development and progress.

During the meeting, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, in the presence of HE Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation; HE Talal Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Vice President, MBRSC; HE Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC; and His Excellency Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General of MBRSC, listened to astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri explain the details of the Zayed Ambition 2 mission, and the research and experiments that the Crew-6 team will conduct during their six-month stay on the ISS. Al Mansouri was the first Emirati astronaut to reach the ISS as part of the “UAE Astronaut Programme” overseen by the MBRSC.

At the end of the call, His Highness extended his best wishes to Sultan and expressed his hope for his success in accomplishing the goals of the scientific programme, as well as a safe return home.

On March 3 at 10:40 AM UAE time, Sultan and his Crew-6 teammates docked with the ISS after a 24-hour flight, and they entered the station at 12:45 PM UAE time on the same day. A welcome ceremony was held for the crew, followed by a safety briefing and orientation.

The Crew-6 is now gearing up for a handover from the Crew-5 team, who will undock and splash down off the coast of Florida once their work is complete. After the handover, Crew-6 will carry out novel and innovative scientific research aimed at preparing for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and advancing life on Earth.

Throughout the mission, Sultan will partner with various space agencies, including NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), to carry out 19 scientific studies across a broad spectrum of fields. These studies will cover topics such as cardiovascular and immune system health, back pain, technical demonstrations, epigenetics, fluid science, plant biology, material science, sleep analysis, and radiation.

In addition to conducting scientific research, Sultan will engage in 13 live calls and 10 ham radio interactions, as well as participate in community outreach programmes scheduled throughout his six-month stay. The Emirate Literature Foundation will also partner with MBRSC through the “ELF in Space” initiative, which will produce a weekly broadcast featuring interviews, fun facts, competitions, activities, and an opportunity for students to ask the astronaut questions. The initiative aims to reach 20,000 students and children and promises to be a groundbreaking and interactive educational experience, bringing the exciting work of the UAE’s space mission to life.