Sultan AlNeyadi will be the first astronaut from an Arab country to conduct a six-month mission on the International Space Station.
The announcement will see the United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut fly to the orbiting lab on SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission, which is expected to launch in 2023. His seat was arranged through a previously disclosed agreement with Axiom Space, a Texas-based aerospace company.
AlNeyadi thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Twitter shortly after the UAE vice-president’s Arabic-language announcement on the social network. “My selection as the first Arab astronaut for a long-duration mission is a great honour and responsibility that I accept with a strong desire to raise the UAE flag high in space once more,” AlNeyadi wrote.
AlNeyadi and AlMansoori were the first two astronauts selected by the UAE, a relative newcomer to spaceflight, in 2018. The pair completed spaceflight training with NASA during AlMansoori’s preparations for his short-duration mission in 2019, for which AlNeyadi served as backup.
Before becoming an astronaut, AlNeyadi, 41, was a network security engineer for the UAE Armed Forces and holds a Ph.D. in information technology, according to his International Astronomical Federation biography(opens in new tab). Like other ISS-assigned astronauts, he has completed about two years of basic astronaut candidate training in spacewalks, survival training and other matters.
In space, AlNeyadi will be tasked with doing “many in-depth and advanced scientific experiments as part of the UAE astronaut program,” according to a press release.
Source: Agencies UAE Astronaut Space Station UAE Astronaut Space Station