The Abu Dhabi Municipality has decorated several bridges around the city to celebrate the return of Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi after a historic 6-month space mission.
The light formations have an astronaut with the words Al Emarat on it. A UAE flag at the top of the decoration drives home the immense pride the country feels at being at the forefront of space exploration in the region.
On Monday, AlNeyadi returned from the longest Arab space mission after spending 186 days on the International Space Station (ISS). He also became the first Arab astronaut to perform a spacewalk.
After his Dragon Endeavour spacecraft splashed down on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida at 8:17am (UAE time), AlNeyadi was the last one to alight as an entire nation erupted in applause and celebration. The jubilant astronaut was immediately whisked away for medical tests and will follow a rehabilitation program to get his body used to gravity.
Students in schools around the country watched the landing live, and many participated in celebratory programs afterwards.
A large group of officials from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) including flight surgeon Dr. Hanan AlSuwaidi and pioneering Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri have travelled to Houston to receive AlNeyadi. He is not expected to return to the UAE at least for another two weeks.
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