The UAE has announced its set to send its first astronaut into space on a six-month mission.

Sultan Al Neyadi will become the first Emirati astronaut to head into space and the UAE is the first Arab country to send an astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS).

UAE leaders, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, shared their congratulations to the astronaut ahead of his first official mission.

President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, “I am proud to congratulate Sultan Al Neyadi on being selected as the 1st Arab astronaut to spend 6 months on the International Space Station as part of a mission to commence in 2023. This historic milestone builds on the strong foundations of the UAE’s burgeoning space programme.”

Sheikh Mohammed shared a similar sentiment with the UAE’s president adding, “Our young people have made us feel so proud.”

Al Neyadi is set to embark on the mission next year and will be a part of the SpaceX Crew-6 mission. It’s set to launch from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA in the first half of 2023.

Al Neyadi is amongst the first batch of individuals recruited to be a part of the UAE Astronaut Programme being selected alongside his colleague Hazzaa Al Mansoori. Last year two more cadets, Noura Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla, joined the programme.

Last year, the UAE made history in February 2021 becoming the first Arab-led mission to reach Mars’ orbit.

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