With the conclusion of the mission task, the UAE commemorates AlNeyadi as the first Arab to undertake a spacewalk during Expedition 69, currently underway on the ISS. This accomplishment marks an important step forward for the Arab world’s participation in space exploration.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said, “After three years of intensive training, today we see Sultan AlNeyadi on his first spacewalk, carrying out several tasks outside the International Space Station. AlNeyadi is the first ever Emirati, first Arab and first Muslim astronaut to perform a spacewalk.
During their spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS), Bowen and Al Neyadi layed cables and insulation on the “starboard truss” of the station. This was for the installation of the next pair of ISS Roll Out Solar Arrays, or iROSAs. Four iROSAs have been installed on the space station so far and two more will be mounted on the platforms installed by Al Neyadi and Bowen.
These cable works were completed as a precursor to the installation of the Space Station’s fourth roll-out solar array, known as the International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), which is scheduled to be delivered on the upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. The next objective was to retrieve a crucial Radio Frequency Group (RFG) unit. This communications antenna, or RFG will stay bolted on the station for now due to the difficulty of removing it.
Apart from this, the astronauts were also able to free up an electronics box that had a communications antenna. The antenna itself will be removed during a future spacewalk before it is returned to Earth.
“Being chosen as the first Arab astronaut to undertake a spacewalk is a great honour and responsibility. I am looking forward to represent my country and continue the exceptional journey started by generations of astronauts before me,” Al Neyadi had tweeted on April 6 after being chosen to go on spacewalk.
Prior to embarking on their spacewalk, AlNeyadi and Bowen underwent a two-hour oxygen purge to eliminate nitrogen from their bodies. Following this, Warren Hoburg and Frank Rubio assisted the astronauts in donning their spacesuits – a major operation in itself. It took both AlNeyadi and Bowen an additional hour to put on their spacesuits and safety gear before entering the airlock to gradually reduce the pressure to a safe level for opening the exterior hatch.
The surrounding environment in space can reach scorching temperatures of up to 120 degrees Celsius in the sunlight and drop as low as -150 degrees Celsius when the sun is out of sight. While the spacesuit is geared to handle all this, careful management of the suit during the mission was also a task at hand.
UAE’s Sultan Neyadi has become the first Arab astronaut to walk in space after the end of a seven-hour-long spacewalk on Saturday, April 29.
Two months in space, AlNeyadi will soon be completing two months in space after launching from Cape Canaveral in Florida with his Crew-6 team members on 2 March. For his second month aboard the Space Station, AlNeyadi conducted multiple experiments, including several key ones, such as:
Collect air samples from the Destiny and Columbus laboratory modules before cleaning the Veggie Space botany facility. The samples were analysis for research purposes.
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