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UAE’s Hazza Al Mansouri, aka the “Sultan of Space,” gears up for landmark 6-month mission on ISS

The official portrait of Sultan Al Neyadi, ready in full astronaut gear, was unveiled on Saturday, showing him prepared for the UAE's upcoming significant space mission as part of SpaceX Crew-6.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre unveiled four images on Twitter, including a close-up shot of Sultan Al Neyadi, the mission specialist of SpaceX Crew-6, inside his astronaut helmet. As the first Arab astronaut to embark on a historic six-month stay at the International Space Station (ISS), Al Neyadi has undergone intense training. With liftoff set for February 26, Al Neyadi will soon go into quarantine as per standard procedure for astronauts before space travel.

He will be joined by three other crew members: NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen as spacecraft commander, NASA pilot Warren Hoburg, and Roscosmos mission specialist Andrey Fedyaev.

I'm taking some family photos. This is important. I'm taking some toys from my kids; plus some university T-shirts and small Tintin rockets

Al Neyadi

At a press conference last Thursday, Sultan Al Neyadi offered insight into how he’s been preparing for his grand space adventure – physically, mentally, and emotionally. He acknowledged that 180 days in space would be a long time, so he’s bringing along family photos, toys from his kids, university T-shirts, and small Tintin rockets to help keep memories of Earth close. He misses his mother’s cooking the most, he stated in a previous interview.

An interesting aspect of Al Neyadi’s mission is that he will be spending the entire Ramadan and Eid at the ISS, where there will be 16 sunrises and sunsets daily. He stated that as a traveler, fasting during Ramadan is not mandatory, but he would like to fast if possible and share some UAE meals with his crew members.

Al Neyadi will be conducting 20 of the 250 science experiments to be carried out on the ISS during the six-month period.

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