The change was noticed this Friday morning…

Wondering what the change in your phone network to ‘Spacewalk’ this Friday morning means? Well, if you aren’t aware, Sultan Al Neyadi – the UAE astronaut is currently in space and he will be performing a spacewalk on the International Space Station (ISS) today on Friday, April 28, 2023.

Al Neyadi’s name will go down in the history books as he will be the first Arab astronaut to perform the feat. Spacewalks aren’t done very often and the UAE will be the 10th country in the world to do it – another proud moment for this blossoming country.

UAE Astronaut spacewalk

Wondering what a spacewalk is? Well, it is when an astronaut works outside their spacecraft while in space. Astronauts will be able to do science experiments during their spacewalk which will allow scientists to examine how being in space affects different things.

During Al Neyadi’s spacewalk, he will assist in assembly, maintenance, and upgrades on the space station. The UAE astronaut will also work on a series of preparatory tasks related to the solar array installation EVAs (Extravehicular Activity) planned for later in the mission. These solar installations play an important role in powering the ISS and provide clean and renerable energy to support different experiments, systems and daily operations on board.

To perform the spacewalk Al Neyadi had to undergo a series of tests to see if he would be able to adapt to the challenging environment of space.

As you can imagine, it takes a great amount of skill and experience to be given the go-ahead by NASA. So only a very few number of astronauts can perform the high-risk task – all the more reason for it to be a proud moment for the UAE. Al Neyadi train for more than 55 hours at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas to prepare.

Al Neyadi will be joined by NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen during the mission. The mission is expected to last approximately 6.5 hours.


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A post shared by Sultan Al Neyadi (@astro_alneyadi)

Sending a message to the UAE and the world, Al Neyadi posted a photo on his Instagram saying, ‘Tomorrow, Steve Bowen and I will do a spacewalk outside the ISS to change the Radio Frequency Group unit and prepare for the installation of solar panels. After a long period of training, we are ready to take on the challenge and create a new milestone for our mission.’

You will be able to watch the live coverage of the spacewalk below or on here. Thanks NASA!

We wish Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen all the very best for their task ahead.

Images: Sultan Al Neyadi Instagram