UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi to return home in weeks; Date announced

United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Nayadi, the first Arab astronaut on a long-duration space mission, and his Crew-6 colleagues will return to Earth before September 1, US space agency NASA confirmed on Thursday.

„Our #Crew6 astronauts have been living on the @Space_Station for nearly six months—and now they’re coming home,” NASA tweeted on X (formerly Twitter): „The crew’s SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavor, splashed down off the coast of Florida on Friday, September 1 It will be launched from the space station earlier.

Crew-6 members AlNeyadi, Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoberg, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev have been living at the orbital outpost since they docked on March 3, 2023. The students’ robotics challenges include plant genetics and human health in microgravity, to explore beyond low Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.

Waiting for Crew-7

The return of Crew-6 depends on the arrival of the next crew rotation mission. NASA astronaut Jasmine Mokbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will fly to the space station on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft before August 25. According to NASA.

After docking, Crew-7 will be welcomed aboard the SS by Expedition 69’s seven-man crew, including Alneyadi and the rest of Crew-6, who will not return home immediately as they must first complete all handover protocols.

After the handover period, Crew-6 will launch SpaceX’s Dragon shuttle Endeavor from the space station and splashdown (landing a spacecraft by parachute) off Tampa Beach, Florida. They will then return to NASA headquarters in Houston, Texas.

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Adaptation to life on Earth

After living in microgravity for almost half a year, changes occur in the body when Alneiyadi returns to Earth. In a recent dialogue session with UAE students, Alneyadi said: “After spending six months in space, when we return, we have to adapt to walking and life in general. Generally, it takes about two weeks of training to readjust to life on Earth. During this time, we will carry out scientific experiments and physical exercises and return to normalcy,” he said.

AlNeyadi, the first Arab astronaut to complete a historic spacewalk outside the ISS on April 28 this year, has so far conducted 220 experiments and scientific studies in collaboration with UAE universities and international space agencies on how microgravity affects the human body. He has performed various maintenance tasks at various locations on the ISS and held many live conversations with youth and students to share valuable insights about life in space and science related to the UAE space mission.

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