On Friday, Emirati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi made history by performing the first Arab space walk from the International Space Station (ISS). This is a great moment for the UAE, which considers it a “milestone” achievement.
Alneyadi, who is 41 years old, was given the nickname “Sultan of Space” by his alma mater. He is also the first Arab astronaut to spend six months in space after launching a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in early March.
During the spacewalk, Alneyadi wore a spacesuit that displayed the Emirati flag, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) hailed the moment as a “new historic milestone.” NASA broadcasted live footage of the event, showing Alneyadi exiting the hatch of the ISS.
MBRSC and NASA also confirmed that Alneyadi spent approximately six and a half hours performing the spacewalk.
NASA further explained that Alneyadi worked with NASA’s Stephen Bowen to carry out important tasks such as changing the Radio Frequency Group unit and preparing for the installation of solar panels on the ISS. This mission also involved routing power cables to prepare for future power system upgrades outside the ISS.
BIG : UAE Astronaut 🇦🇪 Sultan Al Niyadi will become the first Arab to perform a space walk from International Space Station on 28th April. pic.twitter.com/ODfQBDzrTY
— حسن سجواني 🇦🇪 Hassan Sajwani (@HSajwanization) April 6, 2023
UAE actively involved in space exploration
UAE has been actively involved in space exploration, with its first astronaut Hazzaa al-Mansoori going on an eight-day mission in 2019.
The UAE also sent an uncrewed spacecraft to Mars in 2021, marking the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. In addition, they sent a rover to the Moon last year.
However, the UAE-developed Rashid Moon rover was lost earlier this week due to the apparent crash of Japanese start-up ispace’s Hakuto-R lunar lander on the Moon’s surface.
On Wednesday, iSpace confirmed that its HAKUTO-R spacecraft, which was supposed to make a historic landing on the moon, likely crashed into the moon’s surface. The failed landing occurred about three months after the 7-foot-tall lander was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The lander entered into the moon’s orbit on March 21st and began its preparation for a landing on the lunar surface.
During its descent, ground controllers lost contact with the lander. The team determined that it was in a vertical position as it approached the lunar surface, but no data was received indicating a successful touchdown.
After the incident, iSpace officials released a statement stating that based on the data available, the lander likely made a hard landing on the moon’s surface.
Despite this setback, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has already directed the MBRSC to begin work on a second rover called Rashid 2.