Sultan Al Neyadi.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Astronauts Sultan Al Neyadi and Stephen Bowen are preparing for the 6-and-a-half-hour mission outside the International Space Station.
Sultan Al Neyadi said on Twitter, “Counting down the hours until we pass through the ISS airlock into space. Wearing the spacesuit and proudly bearing the UAE flag on my arm, I will soon be undertaking the Arab world’s first spacewalk. Wish us luck!” ￼￼
Neyadi is all set to create history by becoming the first Arab astronaut to undertake a spacewalk or Extravehicular Activity (EVAs) during Expedition 69 on the International Space Station (ISS).
Scheduled for Friday, April 28, the UAE will become the 10th country to perform a spacewalk on the ISS, while Al Neyadi will be part of the 261st spacewalk in support of assembly, maintenance, and upgrades on the space station.
"Today, Steve Bowen and I will do a spacewalk outside the ISS to change the Radio Frequency Group unit and prepare for the installation of solar panels. After a long period of training, we are ready to take on the challenge and create a new milestone for our mission," tweeted Al Neyadi from ISS.
The fourth spacewalk of this year on the ISS will be a momentous occasion as Al Neyadi and Nasa Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen work together to carry out essential tasks.
The highly anticipated EVA is projected to last approximately 6.5 hours. One of the primary objectives of the EVA will be to retrieve a crucial Radio Frequency Group (RFG) unit, which is an integral component of the S-Band communications string on the ISS.
This essential piece of communications equipment will be returned to Earth on a SpaceX flight.
In addition to the primary task, Al Neyadi and his team will be working on a series of preparatory tasks related to the solar array installation EVAs planned for later in the mission.
The solar arrays play a pivotal role in powering the ISS, providing clean and renewable energy to support the various experiments, systems, and daily operations on board.
Live coverage of the event will be available on https://www.mbrsc.ae/live/ starting at 4:30 PM UAE time, with the spacewalk set to begin at 5:15 PM UAE time.
The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s 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 country’s integration on the global stage.
MBRSC is an advanced scientific and technological hub, responsible for making the UAE a world leader in space services and exploration.
Established in 2006, the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) started out with five engineers, who took it upon themselves to develop their capabilities and expand their knowledge in the field of space, relying on strong will and solid determination.
Since then, the centre has continued its journey to be the incubator of the “UAE National Space Programme.”
The MBRSC has undertaken the tasks of building, developing, and operating a number of Earth observation satellites, providing imaging services, analysing and studying them, as well as producing relevant data to scientific communities and research centres around the world.
Among the satellites that the centre operates are DubaiSat-1 & DubaiSat-2.
The MBRSC is also responsible for KhalifaSat, celebrated as the first satellite that was fully built by Emiratis in 2018. Recently, the centre revealed its plan to develop the new satellite MBZ-SAT, which is expected to be launched at the end of 2023 and to be the latest in the field of high-resolution imaging from outer space.
Mohamed Bin Zayed congratulated the Emirati people on Al Neyadi’s selection for the mission, noting that the UAE has become the 11th country in history to participate in a long-term mission to space.
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