VIDEO: This is how UAE astronaut Neyadi will be received by doctors and Nasa team on earth - GulfToday

VIDEO: This is how UAE astronaut Neyadi will be received by doctors and Nasa team on earth

Sultan Al Neyadi at International Space Station. File

Syed Shayan Bakht, Staff Reporter

With the UAE and earth inhabitants eagerly waiting for the return of the Crew 6 astronauts from ISS, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) organised a virtual media briefing on Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.

The meeting was attended by Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Adnan Al Rais, Mission Manager, UAE Astronaut Programme, MBRSC, Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the first Emirati astronaut, and Dr. Hanan Al Suwaidi, the flight surgeon for both astronauts.

Upon being asked what would be the process of rehabilitation for Sultan Al Neyadi after his splashdown off the coast of Florida on Sept.4, 8.17am UAE time, Director General, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Salem told Gulf Today, “The dragon capsule will make a splashdown in the sea, where recovery ships will take the astronauts to safety and retrieve the capsule.

Then onwards, Neyadi and others will go through an overall medical check, mostly monitoring the vitals.

“A blood test would be drawn to get a thorough analysis of the hematology.”

Salem further added, “Astronauts usually come across slight problems with eyesight, bone loss, and balancing. Their skin sometimes reacts to sunlight due to lack of sun exposure at ISS.

He said that but this is different for each individual.

“Some may face these issues where others may just have difficulty in balancing.”

The astronaut will fly from Jacksonville, Florida, to Houston, where a UAE team along with Salem would receive Neyadi.

Neyadi will also meet his wife, father and brother at the Houston base.

Neyadi will go for a thorough evaluation at Nasa Johnson Space Centre in Houston and spend some days with the medical team. The doctors and teams will help Neyadi get his vestibular system strong.

The whole process takes around 45 days to 2 months for an astronaut to get back to his daily routine on earth.

The UAE is planning a hero's welcome for Neyadi, though his date of return to the Emirates will be announced soon after the rehabilitation programme.

Salem also highlighted that there is a bit of risk during reentry into earth. It is subjected to the spacecraft’s heatshield and technical details, though Nasa and its partners have excellent experienced teams for the operation and hopefully everything will be smooth.

However, Dr Hanan Al Suwaidi, the flight surgeon, who has been in touch and monitoring Sultan’s health, confirmed to Gulf Today, “Sultan’s health is in excellent condition. He has been working out. His nutrition regime was good, we expect he will rehabilitate quickly to the earth.”

Gulf Today asked Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the first Emirati astronaut to go to space, about the bonding with Neyadi.

Hazzaa said, “My bonding with Neyadi is brotherly.

“We started together in the UAE space programme. We went through the same training regime. He even named his fifth son after me.”

We have been in touch with each other everyday asking about our lives in space and earth. Our families have been calling and meeting each other most of the time.”

Hazzaa said, “Working with Neyadi is a delight. He is fast, active, and easy going. He shares videos and photos from space, which Nasa is using for educational purposes.”

On being asked, what would be one thing he would like to do together?

He responded, “We would like to go to space together. I have asked Salem for a possibility for such an event in the future. But for now we are preparing Nora and Mohammed for the next spaceflight.”  

Gulf Today asked Hazzaa, “What would be his message to the younger generation in UAE from this historical space mission?”

Hazzaa said, “The UAE has much bigger space ambition and programme, thanks to the wise leadership of the Emirates. My message to younger people is that you can do it as well. You have to prepare yourself from now on. The UAE is planning for space missions every 4-5 year. I am not allowed to discuss that as it is above my pay grade but new programmes for future astronauts are in place.

“I urge young people to build bonds to be able to work together. Be able to work with a different mindset and diverse environment and believe in yourself.” 

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