This was the UAEs second human space flight and the Arab worlds first extended mission as well as the first time an Arab astronaut performed a spacewalk.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced the successful undocking of Crew-6, which includes UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, from the International Space Station (ISS). This marks the beginning of the crew’s return journey after the six-month-long space mission.
The Dragon Endeavour spacecraft carrying onboard Sultan Al Neyadi along with his Crew-6 crewmates, NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev autonomously undocked from the International Space Station at 3:05 PM (UAE time), following which series of departure burns were executed to distance itself from the orbiting laboratory. The spacecraft is currently in a safe free drift trajectory back to Earth.
Al Neyadi will undergo several days of medical testing, evaluation and mission debriefs in the US before returning home to the UAE.
Speaking about Al Neyadi’s return, Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman of MBRSC, said: The undocking of the Dragon spacecraft, carrying Sultan AlNeyadi and his Crew-6 members from the ISS marks a significant phase of a journey that’s been ongoing over the past six months. The longest Arab space mission undertaken by Sultan reflects the UAEs commitment to innovation and international collaboration. We eagerly await Sultan’s safe return and see it as a beacon for what our nation can achieve. With every milestone, we’re not only wrapping up one chapter but also paving the way for future endeavours in space exploration.
Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC, added: The longest Arab space mission, undertaken by Sultan is not just a singular achievement, but a confluence of dedication, strategic planning, and the relentless pursuit of excellence that we have always stood for. With the Dragon spacecraft now safely on its way back, we keenly await Sultan’s return. Every phase has been executed meticulously, and we are looking forward to the spacecraft’s successful splashdown. It’s been an extraordinary journey, and the anticipation for Sultan to reunite with his homeland is palpable.”
Al Neyadi carried out more than 200 science experiments aboard the orbiting outpost, including ones assigned by NASA and ones by universities across the UAE.
Bowen, Hoburg, Al Neyadi, and Fedyaev travelled 78,875,292 miles during their mission, spent 184 days aboard the space station, and completed 2,976 orbits around Earth.
Throughout their mission, the Crew-6 members contributed to a host of science?and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. Bowen conducted three spacewalks, joined by Hoburg for two, and Al Neyadi for one, preparing the station for and installing two new IROSAs (International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays) to augment power generation for the station.
The crew contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations, including assisting a student robotic challenge, studying plant genetic adaptations to space, and monitoring human health in microgravity to prepare for exploration beyond low Earth orbit and to benefit life on Earth. The astronauts released Saskatchewans first satellite which tests a new radiation detection and protection system derived from melanin, found in many organisms, including humans.
The Crew-6 mission is part of NASAs?Commercial Crew Programme, and its return to Earth follows the launch of NASAs SpaceX Crew-7, which docked to the station on August 27, beginning another long-duration science expedition.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAEs National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the countrys integration on the global stage.