Sultan AlNeyadi Set to Return to Earth on September 3

Sultan AlNeyadi Set to Return to Earth on September 3

Successfull splashdown will complete the longest Arab space mission in history

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced that astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi is scheduled to return from the International Space Station (ISS) on September 3, following his completion of the historic longest Arab space mission in history, spanning 6 months.

AlNeyadi along with NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, will depart the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour on September 2.

Donning their pressure suits, the team is set for a splashdown off the coast of Tampa, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico on September 3.

Return sequence

Prior to initiating the deorbit sequence, stringent checks will be performed, especially pertaining to forecasted weather conditions and recovery readiness at the designated splashdown location. Following these verifications, the following steps will take place:

1. Departure: The Dragon spacecraft will autonomously undock from the ISS on September 2 and perform a series of departure burns to move away from the orbiting laboratory.

2. Phasing burns: If required, a series of orbit-lowering manoeuvres will be done on the spacecraft that line up its ground track with the desired landing location.

3. Trunk jettison: Prior to the spacecraft’s deorbit burn, the flight computer will jettison the trunk in order to reduce mass and save propellant.

4. Deorbit burn: The spacecraft will conduct its deorbit burn, which lasts 12 minutes.

5. Re-entry: The spacecraft will experience significant heating and drag as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, which slows the velocity to the point of safe parachute deploy.

6. Parachute deployment: The spacecraft’s two drogue parachutes will deploy at 18,000 feet followed by four main parachutes that deploy at 6,500 feet.

7. Splashdown: Under four main parachutes, the spacecraft will safely touch down at a velocity of 25 feet per second and autonomously release its parachutes off the coast of Tampa, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico on September 3.

Longest Arab space mission

The longest Arab space mission in history was launched on March 2 at 9:34 am (UAE time), aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. The 6-month mission, was carried out by AlNeyadi, NASA astronauts Bowen and Hoburg, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Fedyaev.

Over the course of the mission, AlNeyadi was involved in over 200 experiments, partnering with international space agencies and esteemed UAE and global universities.

His contributions span diverse fields, including plant genetics, human life sciences, exploration technology, fluid dynamics, material science, protein crystallisation growth, and advanced exploration technologies.

These experiments have been instrumental in helping the scientific community, researchers, and students in the UAE and around the world become an integral part of the mission, supporting it in various capacities.

AlNeyadi also accomplished a number of firsts for a UAE astronaut during this mission, including becoming the first Arab to complete a spacewalk, alongside his fellow crewmate NASA astronaut Bowen.

AlNeyadi further engaged in 19 educational and community outreach events called the "A Call from Space" series, in which over 10,000 people from all walks of life took part and interacted with the Emirati astronaut through live video calls and ham radio sessions.

As the mission approaches its conclusion, Crew-6 team is currently involved in the handover activity with Crew-7 astronauts, who successfully docked and entered the ISS on August 27 at 6:58 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).

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