Hazza Al Mansouri (left) and Sultan Al Neyadi.
Yamama Badwan, Staff Reporter
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) on Sunday announced that Emirati astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi are ready to work on the International Space Station (ISS) after receiving the astronaut’s pin from NASA’s Johnson Space Centre following the completion of their general training that lasted around 20 months.
Eng Salem Humaid Al Marri, MBRSC Director, tweeted: “Congratulations guys, your efforts were exceptional over the past 20 months of training and your performance was excellent and honourable for the UAE Astronaut Programme and for the country. All the best in the upcoming training.”
Meanwhile, Al Neyadi tweeted: “It’s a great feeling when the efforts of 20 months of training prove to be successful. I thank all the work teams at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, NASA, my brother Hazza and everyone who supported me to obtain the NASA astronaut’s pin. Our training continues to achieve greater goals, God willing.”
The two astronauts have continued their training at NASA as part of an advanced programme since the end of September 2020 to be qualified to become ISS operators capable of performing all professional astronaut missions, which include maintenance, installation of equipment and repair in a 6-month mission.
In early October, the two astronauts successfully completed the first training year after they were evaluated by a committee of elite astronauts, trainers and spacesuit experts, thanks to their skills and competence in using the suit, maintaining the station and rescuing astronauts in critical situations.
In early May, the two astronauts trained to use a special camera to take pictures, during the spacewalk mission outside the ISS.
The camera is attached to a lighting flash, and is covered to be protected from fluctuating temperatures ranging from -160 to 200 degrees Celsius. It works with just one push of a button because all settings must be set in advance as it is difficult to do this while wearing thick gloves.
Later, the two astronauts went through several experiments and attended man theoretical and practical lessons until they were proclaimed ready to operate in the ISS.