Sultan Al Neyadi created a new history in the UAE’s space exploration sector as he walks into space. He finished a spacewalk within six and a half hours, after exiting the International Space Station on the 28th of Friday at 5:41 pm GST with his colleague Stephen Bowen and re-entered the space station around 11:40 pm GST. This week was an exciting one for the UAE space exploration scene.
Al Neyadi becomes the first Arab to complete the spacewalk
Mr. Bowen and Mr. Al Neyadi completed crucial tasks during their maintenance assignment, in addition to developing a structure on the station’s exterior for a future solar array appliance.
NASA broadcasted a live stream where these astronauts were shown attached to a simple tether while floating in space, completing complicated repair work while wearing a heavy spacesuit.
The bulky space suits they are wearing are called extravehicular mobility units which can weigh up to 127 kg, However, due to the absence of forces to push them down, they will not experience the weight of these bulky suits.
The president of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan congratulated Al Neyadi and also expressed how proud he is of all the recent developments.
He shared on Twitter that with this week’s insights delivered by Hope Probe, the Rashid Rover mission, and Mr. Neyadi’s spacewalk, all of these achievements prove the meaningful contributions that the UAE continues to make in the sector of space exploration.
Mr. Al Neyadi and Mr. Bowen were also tasked with removing an old piece of communication hardware from the outer surface of the International Space Station. But the duo faced difficulties with their mission as the radio frequency unit was never programmed to be serviced whilst a spacewalk.
Stephen Bowen used drills to loosen the bolts and Sultan Al Neyadi tried a hammer but was in vain. The astronauts were instructed to reinstall the hardware and get inside the laboratory by NASA after the researchers on the ground spent some time on the issue.
The vice president His Highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum used this opportunity to laud the Emirati Astronaut. He wrote on Twitter that over 3 years of tedious training, they saw the Arab dream of 1st ever emirate space walking, carrying out intricate tasks like installing new appliances and doing maintenance on the International Space Station.
Neyadi has set the title of being the first Arab, first Emirati, and first Muslim to walk in outer space.
He quoted that two-thirds of the stars in the sky have Arab names, and now with this star moment by Neyadi, he reassures that Arabs are going to deliver the best and they are capable of creating glorious feats if they set their targets and invest in scientific development and the youth of the nation.
Spacewalks are considered very risky considering they are leaving the safety and comfort of the orbiting laboratory in suits to conduct various experiments, installments, or repairs, all while staying afloat in space with microgravity over 400 km above the Earth.