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The Emirati “Sultan” of space is preparing for his mission to the International Space Station

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Dubai (AFP) – Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, the first Arab to participate in a six-month mission in space, confirmed Thursday his readiness for his mission, indicating that he may fast during the month of Ramadan despite the challenges.

Al-Neyadi, 41, will become the first Arab to spend six months in space after his scheduled launch on February 26 to the International Space Station via the “Falcon 9” rocket manufactured by the “SpaceX” company.

Al Neyadi will also be the second Emirati to participate in a space flight, after Hazza Al Mansouri, who spent eight days on the International Space Station in September 2019.

Al Neyadi told reporters in Dubai that “the period (six months) may seem long, but the schedule is crowded,” noting that he will conduct many studies, including studies on “the effect of zero gravity on human bodies,” in preparation for future missions.

Despite its recent entry into the world of space exploration, the UAE is making rapid strides in this field. In February 2021, the Emirati probe “Hope” entered the orbit of Mars, becoming the first Arab country to reach the Red Planet.

According to Al Neyadi, fasting the month of Ramadan, which will begin during his mission in space, will be a challenge of another kind.

He said, “The International Space Station is rotating rapidly (…) and orbiting the Earth in ninety minutes.” He added, “On a daily average, there are 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets, and for the fasting person in Ramadan in space, there will be difficulty when to fast or break the fast.”

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The Emirati astronaut indicated that the station uses Greenwich Mean Time, noting that, “Currently, God willing, we will prepare for the holy month with the intention of fasting.”

Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset.

Al Neyadi spent 20 years in the UAE Armed Forces and holds a PhD in data leak prevention technology.

Al-Neyadi explained that he feels “extremely happy, but it is a great responsibility, and we look forward to a successful mission and bring back the desired practical benefits from this mission.”

Al-Neyadi will take several personal belongings with him, including “pictures of my family and some small toys for my children, and I will return them to them.”

“I will also take a jiu-jitsu suit out of love for this sport,” he added, to try practicing it with zero gravity.