Sultan Al Neyadi to head to the International Space Station on Feb.19 - GulfToday

Sultan Al Neyadi to head to the International Space Station on Feb.19


Sultan Al Neyadi during his preparation for the mission.

Yamama Badwan, Staff Reporter

Sultan Al Neyadi, the Emirati astronaut, is preparing to head to the International Space Station (ISS), on Feb.19, on the first long-term Arab mission which will last 180 days, as part of the “Crow 6” mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA.

Al Neyadi will participate in the mission along with 3 other astronauts, making the UAE the 11th nation globally that accomplish a long-term mission at the station.

According to SpaceX, its sixth mission will carry two NASA astronauts, Stephen Bowen, the mission commander, and pilot Woody Hoburg, as well as two mission specialists, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and Russian astronaut Andrey Vidyaev.

Al Neyadi will put on a spacewalk suit, weighing 130 kilogrammes (on the ground), called the “Extravehicle Mobility Unit” or “EMU”, which requires 45 minutes to be worn.

The special equipment, helmet and gloves will be installed, after which he will enter a pressurized unit to adapt to the low pressure which the suit maintains.

It is worth noting that the astronaut must spend more than an hour inside this unit breathing pure oxygen before leaving it.

The suit is like a small spaceship, protecting astronauts from the harsh conditions outside the ISS, and from space dust, as Al Neyadi will walk in space to perform tasks and repairs outside the ISS, which may last eight hours.

The suit's elastic parts consist of 16 layers, each of which has a different function. Some layers retain oxygen, while others protect the astronaut from space dust.

Under the suit, the astronaut wears another piece of clothing which covers the body except for the head, hands and feet. Also,  tubes are regulated inside it, which are about 300 feet long, to regulate body temperature and get rid of excess heat while walking in space.

Astronaut’s suit is usually white, to reflect heat in space where temperatures in direct sunlight can be over 135°C.

The gloves are of a special type called “EVA”, which will enable him to pick up equipment and tools. They also contain heaters at the tips of the fingers.

The helmet it contains a venting pad that directs oxygen from the subsystem to support life and maintains oxygen pressure around the head at suitable levels.

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