ABU DHABI - President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said the UAE is strengthening its stature in the space sector, due to its people's determination and ambition, noting that Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi represents an honourable model for the Emirati and Arab youth.
They made this statement during the announcement of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the selection of Al Neyadi to participate in the first long-term mission to the International Space Station (ISS), as part of a NASA, Space-X and Crew-6 mission that will launch in spring 2023.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed congratulated the Emirati people on Al Neyadi’s selection for the mission, noting that the UAE has become the 11th country in history to participate in a long-term mission to space.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed highlighted that Al Neyadi is a role model for the Emirati youth who we are proud of, and will be an ambassador for all Arabs in the space race, stressing that the country is establishing the foundations of this vital sector by supplying it with qualified national cadres, launching further scientific projects related to space exploration, and supporting related industries.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said Al Neyadi was selected among several Emirati astronauts to be the first Arab astronaut to engage in a long-term space mission to the ISS.
Al Neyadi will spend six months aboard the ISS, during which he will conduct many in-depth and advanced scientific experiments as part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, which aims to train and prepare a team of Emirati astronauts and send them to space to carry out various scientific missions. Al Neyadi's mission came after the signing of a strategic partnership agreement last April between the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Axiom Space, a US company specialising in space flights and the development of space infrastructure.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MBRSC, said the UAE’s National Space Programme is based on the proactive vision of the country’s leadership aimed at foreseeing the future, noting that it will help boost the UAE’s regional and international stature in the space sector.
Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director-General of the MBRSC, said Al Neyadi completed intensive training courses as a substitute astronaut during the Zayed Ambition mission in 2018, and he has received an astronaut badge from NASA's Johnson Space Centre.
After the agreement’s signing in April 2022, Al Neyadi was selected to participate in a six-month mission to the ISS.
The UAE Astronaut Programme launched by the MBRSC aims to establish the infrastructure of the UAE’s space sector and is one of the most inspiring programmes that aims to meet the aspirations of young people with unique scientific capacities and personal skills.
It also aims to develop the capabilities of Emirati astronauts and enable them to operate the ISS.
Al Neyadi 's selection is part of a new mission, for which he intensively prepared at NASA's Johnson Space Centre.