UAE Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi Becomes the First Arab to Walk in Space

Lindsay Judge   |   29-04-2023

The UAE’s astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has become the first Arab to complete a spacewalk after successfully finishing a six-and-a-half-hour mission in the darkness of space. The mission which he completed alongside his American colleague Stephan Bowen saw the UAE national working on two major tasks assigned by NASA.


As they exited the International Space Station, the pair’s spacesuits switched to battery power before exiting their current base. The first task was to prepare the ISS for a future solar array installation, followed by a second more complicated task to remove an old piece of communication hardware for refurbishment. Unfortunately despite the eight bolts being loosened around the communication device, the pair were unable to complete the latter and were instructed to return to the ISS by NASA, but overall the spacewalk was considered a success, with no hiccups or safety issues for the pair.



Al Neyadi was congratulated by Dubai’s leaders including His Highness President Shiekh Mohamed and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “With this week’s new discoveries by the Hope probe, the achievements of the Rashid rover mission, and Sultan Al Neyadi’s first ever spacewalk by an Arab astronaut, the UAE continues to make a meaningful contribution to space exploration and advancements in science,” President Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.



Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum commented: “After three years of intensive training, today we saw Sultan Al Neyadi on the first mission to walk in outer space, carrying out tasks of installing new parts and maintenance on the International Space Station. The first Emirati, first Arab and first Muslim to walk in outer space. Proud of that. They say that two-thirds of the stars in the sky bear Arabic names. Arabs are capable, Arabs are coming, Arabs are creative, if we decide to focus on science and invest in youth.”



Sultan Al Neyadi is due to take part in more than 200 science experiments during his six-month stay aboard the International Space Station.