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UAE Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi Makes History with First Arab Spacewalk

United Arab Emirates, Astronaut, NASA, International Space Station, Extravehicular activity,
UAE Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi Makes History with First Arab Spacewalk

On April 28, 2023, history was made as UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi conducted the first Arab spacewalk. He spent over six hours outside the International Space Station (ISS), along with fellow astronaut Vasily Tsibliyev from Roscosmos, to perform power upgrades on the station.

Preparation for the Spacewalk

The spacewalk was months in the making, with extensive preparation by the astronauts, ground crew, and engineers. AlNeyadi had undergone rigorous training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia to prepare for the mission, including training for spacewalks in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Spacesuit

One of the key components of any spacewalk is the spacesuit, which protects the astronaut from the harsh conditions of space. The spacesuit used by AlNeyadi was custom-made for him by the UAE Space Agency and Dubai-based company, Latifa School for Girls. The suit was designed to withstand extreme temperatures and radiation, and also featured a number of advanced features such as a heads-up display and a wireless communication system.

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The Spacewalk

The spacewalk began at 9:35 am UAE time, with AlNeyadi and Tsibliyev exiting the ISS through the Pirs docking compartment. The two astronauts worked together to install a new power unit and associated hardware on the Zarya module, which is the first module of the ISS that was launched into orbit.

The task was complex and required precise movements, but AlNeyadi and Tsibliyev completed it successfully. They also performed a number of other tasks, including the installation of a new camera and the removal of some old hardware.

The Mission’s Importance

The UAE has been making a significant push into space exploration in recent years, with the successful launch of its Mars mission in 2020, and the selection of two new astronauts in 2021. The spacewalk by AlNeyadi is another important milestone in the country’s space program, and highlights the growing role of the UAE in the global space industry.

The spacewalk also serves as a reminder of the importance of international cooperation in space exploration. The ISS is a joint project involving the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada, and the successful completion of the mission by AlNeyadi and Tsibliyev is a testament to the power of collaboration.

The first Arab spacewalk by UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi is an important milestone in the country’s space program and highlights the growing role of the UAE in the global space industry. The success of the mission is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the astronauts, ground crew, and engineers who made it possible, as well as the power of international collaboration in space exploration.

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