Travelling at 28,000km per hour, UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi shared his first selfie from space. On Wednesday, he tweeted a picture of himself on ISS, saying: “From space, I salute earth. I salute our homeland and its leaders. I salute all those who carried Zayed’s Ambition in their hearts and aim high to the sky. The dream has come true and now we dream bigger.”
Clad in a blue t-shirt, Al Neyadi clicked a selfie against the background of the cupola on the ISS. Cupola is a small observatory dome-like module designed for the observation of operations outside the station such as robotic activities, the approach of vehicles, and spacewalks.
Prior to his launch to ISS, Al Neyadi had said he would take photos of the Earth passing through the cupola.
“All astronauts run towards the Cupola to watch Earth or see Earth from there. I want to do it differently. I want to go there with a camera, hopefully. So I want to share that moment with everybody. I want to capture that moment of looking back, back towards Earth with everybody. Yeah, so that’s probably the moment I’m looking forward to,” he said in a NASA podcast.
On Wednesday, he fulfilled his dream.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had the first official Earth-to-space conversation on 7 March, a day before Al Neyadi shared his selfie.
Throughout the mission, Sultan will partner with various space agencies, including NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), to carry out 19 scientific studies across a broad spectrum of fields. These studies will cover topics such as cardiovascular and immune system health, back pain, technical demonstrations, epigenetics, fluid science, plant biology, material science, sleep analysis, and radiation.
In addition to conducting scientific research, Sultan will engage in 13 live calls and 10 ham radio interactions, as well as participate in community outreach programmes scheduled throughout his six-month stay.
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