UAE - Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi has expressed his longing for space, sharing that he already ‘misses’ it.

This sentiment was conveyed in a video he recorded while aboard the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft during his return voyage from the International Space Station (ISS).

In the video, AlNeyadi offers a captivating view of the orbiting laboratory as it hovers in the boundless expanse of outer space.

Taking to microblogging platform X AlNeyadi on Thursday, tweeted, “@Space_Station. Unbelievable view! Have you already [been missing] space like me?”

Speed of ISS

The ISS orbits Earth at an average of 400 km (248 miles) above the surface travelling approximately 8 km per second (17,900 mph). At this speed, it orbits the Earth every 90 minutes. The ISS travels at this speed to maintain an orbit around our planet.

The space station is a symbol of international cooperation that has benefited life back on Earth economically, technologically, scientifically, and educationally.

The 42-year-old astronaut spent about 4,400 hours in space and returned to Earth on September 4 in a SpaceX Dragon capsule, after completing a six-month-long voyage.

He accomplished the lengthiest space voyage ever undertaken by an Arab astronaut and was the inaugural Arab to undertake a spacewalk.

He conducted over 200 experiments aboard the ISS that took 585 hours and collaborated with 10 international space agencies and 25 UAE and global universities.

A hero’s welcome

Here on home soil, Al Neyadi received a hero's welcome after his arrival at the new Abu Dhabi International Airport following a flight from the US, where he had been since his return to Earth.

On Monday, The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed his delight at Sultan Al Neyadi's return, hailing him as a source of national pride.

The President was accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as they observed the joyous return of the UAE astronaut.

To commemorate his homecoming, the Al Fursan aerobatic team even conducted a fly-past above the airport following his arrival.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid engaged in a conversation with Sultan Al Neyadi, joined by his father and three of his children, where they explored various aspects of the mission and gained insights into his space journey.

Road ahead

AlNeyadi will return to the US for further debriefings during which he will collaborate with researchers to finalize the scientific investigations in which he participated onboard the ISS.

He is ready to share his wealth of knowledge and be the ambassador for all things STEM.

In the UAE, he will be part of community outreach programmes and talks at conferences as the astronaut inspires the next generation of space scientists and space travellers.

His contributions to boosting the country’s science capabilities will be extremely valuable as he brings real-life applications of research conducted aboard the ISS.

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