Brighton graduate makes history as first Arab astronaut on ISS

Posted On 22 Feb 2023 at 4:16 pm

A Brighton graduate will make history as the first Arab astronaut to take part in a long duration space mission.

Dr Sultan Al Neyadi will launch into orbit this Sunday as part of a NASA/SpaceX crew bound for a six-month stay on the International Space Station.

The astronaut is set to be involved in around 20 experiments on board the ISS and has also revealed he will observe Ramadan while in space.

Dr Al Neyadi, 41, said he “felt ready and excited” for the launch, scheduled for 07.07am GMT on Sunday, 26 February on a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA.

At a recent NASA media briefing he said: “Just the idea of waking up every morning and having access to a window, you can see and scan the whole world in 90 minutes is amazing.

“It’s going to be a busy schedule in terms of science and doing all sorts of cool stuff.

“We are subjects ourselves and we’ll have a lot of sensors on us when we do experiments, when we go to sleep.”

He graduated with an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University of Brighton in 2004, before studying for his masters in the United Arab Emirates and a doctorate in Australia.

Dr Al Neyadi beat more than 4000 candidates to enter the UAE Astronaut Programme at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, and has trained in Houston for the past three years with NASA.

Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “This is a rare and wonderful achievement by Sultan, and one that reflects a huge amount of dedication and hard work.

“On behalf of everyone at the University of Brighton, we wish him the best of luck for his mission aboard the International Space Station.

“I’m incredibly proud to know that our university played an important role in his journey, and we look forward to hearing about his exploits when he returns.”

You can watch the launch broadcast on NASA TV at 3:30am on Sunday, 26 February and the agency’s website.

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