UAE names launch date for new astronaut in orbit

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyyadi will go into orbit on February 26.

Sultan Al Neyyadi, an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, will travel to the International Space Station on February 26, 2023. The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon Endeavour spacecraft are scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In addition to Sultan Al Neyadi, the Crew-6 mission will include NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev. They will be aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft called Endeavour, connected to a Falcon 9 rocket.

The six-month mission will include several scientific experiments and studies. The Emirati astronaut will make his first flight to Earth orbit and become a flight engineer for NASA’s 69th expedition. The UAE will become the 11th country in history to send its citizen on such a long-term space journey.

In December 2022, the United Arab Emirates-built Rashid moon rover embarked on its first space voyage. The launch took place from the Cape Canaveral Cosmodrome in Florida. It is scheduled to reach the surface of the moon in five months and land in April.

In late 2023, the UAE hopes to launch MBZ-Sat, the region’s most powerful aerial imaging satellite. The 800-kilogram satellite, named after the country’s president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, will go into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

In the summer of 2022, the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced the creation of a fund to support the development of the space industry, with a capital of 3 billion dirhams (about US$ 817 million). The fund will support new innovative programs and scientific research in the field of space exploration.

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