Sultan AlNeyadi, a martial arts enthusiast, is the second Emirati to journey into space.
Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX launched a four-person crew on a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) early on Thursday, with a United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut joining two NASA crewmates on the flight. Sultan AlNeyadi, a martial arts enthusiast, is the second Emirati to journey into space. And in a goodwill gesture, he addressed the world in Arabic from aboard the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft as it was cruising towards the ISS. AlNeyadi will spend six months in orbit.
He began his address with “Assalamualaikum (which means peace be upon you in Arabic) and added, “Thank you to everyone, my parents, family, leadership and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. Thank you everyone who trained us and got us ready. Thanks NASA and Space X. Go, Dragon! Go, Falcon!” as per Khaleej Times.
“Shukran jazeelan (thanks a lot),” the astronaut said while ending his brief address.
He also introduced Suhail, a stuffed toy, as the fifth member of the crew. This is the second space of the blue and white stuffed toy, designed by Saeed Al Emadi as the UAE’s space mascot.
During the voyage, AlNeyadi will study the impacts of microgravity on the human body in preparation for future missions to the Moon and Mars. He has served 20 years in the UAE military.
AlNeyadi studied electronics and communications engineering in Britain, and then completed a PhD in data leakage prevention technology at Griffith University in Australia.
The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket topped with an autonomously operated Crew Dragon capsule called Endeavour, lifted off at 12:34 am EST (11am IST) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The flight came 72 hours after an initial launch attempt was scrubbed in the final minutes of countdown early on Monday due to a clog in the flow of engine-ignition fluid. NASA said the problem was fixed by replacing a clogged filter and purging the system.
The trip to the International Space Station (ISS), a laboratory orbiting some 250 miles (420 km) above Earth, was expected to take nearly 25 hours, with rendezvous planned for about 1:15 am EST (around noon) on Friday as the crew begins a six-month science mission in microgravity.