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Sultan Al Neyadi becomes the first Arab astronaut to spacewalk

The astronaut is on a 6-month mission with the International Space Station, 400 km above the Earth

Sultan Al Neyadi becomes the first Arab astronaut to spacewalk
[Source photo: Sultan Al Neyadi/Twitter | Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Dr. Sultan Al Neyadi’s name will go down in history as the first Arab to do a spacewalk. Al Neyadi, who reached the International Space Station on March 3 for a six-month mission, began his six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk with American astronaut Stephen Bowen at 5.41 pm GST on April 28, carrying out crucial tasks during their maintenance assignment, including preparing a structure on the station’s exterior for a future solar array installation.

NASA live-streamed the event showing the duo floating in space, tethered to the ISS with nothing but a safety rope, wearing the 127 kg spacesuits. The two astronauts re-entered the ISS at 11.40 pm GST.

Hailing the historic spacewalk and the Hope probe, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed tweeted: “With this week’s new discoveries by the Hope probe, the achievements of the Rashid rover mission, and Sultan Al Neyadi’s first-ever spacewalk by an Arab astronaut, the UAE continues to make a meaningful contribution to space exploration and advancements in science.”

The Hope probe sent exclusive observations of Deimos, one of Mars’ two moons, last week that can help determine its origins.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted: “After three years of intensive training, today we saw Sultan Al Neyadi on the first mission to walk in outer space, carrying out tasks of installing new parts and maintenance on the International Space Station.”

Adding, “The first Emirati, first Arab, and first Muslim to walk in outer space … proud of that. They say that two-thirds of the stars in the sky bear Arabic names. Arabs are capable… Arabs are coming… Arabs are creative if we decide to focus on science and invest in youth,” expressing his pride and happiness at this major feat.

Leaders of other Arab countries also congratulated Al Neyadi for his achievement.

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