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The Emirati astronaut marks half a year in space

A few weeks ago, the astronaut Sultan Al Nyadi participated in a sleep laboratory experiment on the space station

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Niyadi in a sleep lab experiment on the International Space Station. NASA photo. The experiment was designed to improve the sleep quality and general health of the astronauts during long space missions
Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Niyadi in a sleep lab experiment on the International Space Station. NASA photo. The experiment aims to improve the sleep quality and general health of the astronauts during long space missions

A live interactive session with astronaut Sultan Al Niyadi from the International Space Station (ISS), organized by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in collaboration with the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. The event was attended by students, government officials and space enthusiasts who communicated in real time with the UAE representative in space.

About 300 people attended the event at Louvre Abu Dhabi and listened to Al Nyadi provide information and insights about his mission, which is the longest Arab space mission in history. In response to various questions, Al Nyadi spoke, among other things, about the importance of the suit he wore during the spacewalk, the effect of the microgravity environment on his body, and how he maintains his physical fitness on the International Space Station.

During the six months since Al Nyadi was sent to his current mission, he first achieved achievements as an Arab astronaut, including performing a spacewalk, performing scientific experiments, and more. The A Call from Space series, which is nearing its end, gave nearly 10,000 participants a unique opportunity to connect with Al Nyadi, to get an idea of ​​his mission, his life aboard the International Space Station and space exploration in general.

Sheikh Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence of the United Arab Emirates said: "We are very proud of you, Sultan. Your achievements have ignited a beacon of inspiration for our younger generations. There is no doubt that this experience will create opportunities and scientific horizons for the Arab youth. Your mission not only serves as a catalyst for growing interest in science and technology, but also as a compelling call to engage in the intriguing field of space science."

“Our nation remains steadfast in its pursuit of excellence in science and future-oriented industries, fulfilling the dreams of our late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Space exploration and the advancement of scientific research summarize our national vision and embody our commitment to serve humanity.

"Indeed, this is a dream come true, made possible thanks to the visionary leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. His consistent support for fostering a culture of scientific research and innovation, along with creating opportunities for ambitious young people like you, has been a guiding force. Our youth, raised on the core values ​​of love, mutual respect and harmonious coexistence with diverse cultures and beliefs, are ready to continue this legacy of exploration and innovation."

Sultan Al Nyadi said: "Thank you, Your Highness, for the kind words. You were, and still are, one of the biggest supporters of culture and tolerance in the UAE and the Arab world. Our nation is making great strides in all areas. Our presence on the International Space Station is a strong testimony to the fact that nothing is impossible. This ethos is the motto of our beloved country, and with the support of our wise leadership and the aspirations of the youth, we will continue to achieve more achievements."

Hamad Obeid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC, said: “We are deeply grateful to Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan for gracing this landmark event with his esteemed presence. His support significantly strengthens the growth of the space sector in the United Arab Emirates and resonates throughout the Arab world. Sultan's achievements in space and his journey represent the aspirations of our nation and its relentless pursuit of knowledge and innovation in space exploration, while inspiring a new generation to raise their eyes to space and contemplate the endless possibilities that lie within it."

Salem Humid Al Marri, CEO of MBRSC, said: "We express our sincere appreciation to Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan for welcoming us to this event. We also thank Louvre Abu Dhabi for their continued support and cooperation. This series of talks with Sultan has been an inspiring journey for all of us. Sultan's mission has significantly raised interest in space, science and technology among UAE youth. His efforts inspire curiosity and ambition, and sow the seeds for our nation's future astronauts, scientists and inventors."

Manuel Rabata, Director of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, said: “It is truly an honor for the Louvre Abu Dhabi to be chosen as the venue for a conversation from space with Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Niyadi, here in Abu Dhabi. This is an extraordinary moment that speaks volumes about the importance of engaging young and curious minds, inspiring them to have a profound impact on our world and beyond, which is exactly what we aim to do at the Picturing the Cosmos exhibition. In collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, the UAE Space Agency and Mubadala's partnership, we are able to deliver an awe-inspiring exhibition that showcases the limitless wonders of the universe and builds a bridge between the museum, the history of art, science and the UAE's vision for space exploration.”

The MBRSC-Louvre Abu Dhabi collaboration extends beyond these conversations with the astronaut, and recently announced a partnership for the interactive exhibition, Picturing the Cosmos, currently on display at the museum. 

The United Arab Emirates Astronaut Program is one of the projects managed by MBRSC within the United Arab Emirates National Space Program and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Governance Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the United Arab Emirates and promote the The country's integration in the world arena.

The dream experiment

In mid-June, the 'Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center' announced the successful execution of the dream experiment by astronaut Sultan Al-Niyadi at the International Space Station. The experiment, a major achievement in sleep science and space exploration, was conducted in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), the French National Space Agency, and the University Hospital of Toulouse.

The Dream Experiment uses the DRY EEG system to study the sleep patterns of astronauts in the microgravity environment on the International Space Station. Al-Niyadi wore a specially designed sleeping headband equipped with an EEG sensor. This device captures a variety of sleep-related data, such as sleep cycle durations and heart rate monitoring.

Adnan Al-Rais, Mission Manager of the United Arab Emirates Astronaut Program, said: "This project, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, the French National Space Agency and the Toulouse University Hospital, marks a decisive step forward in our understanding of the human body's adaptability in space. The knowledge we gain here helps the success of future long-term space missions, including trips to the Moon and Mars. We are incredibly proud of the UAE's contributions to the international space community."

Sébastien Barde, Associate Director of Research and Human Space Flight, French National Space Agency, said: "In addition to being a cutting-edge scientific laboratory, the International Space Station is also a place for international collaboration. For ESA astronaut Thomas Peske's Alpha mission, the Dream experiment was developed and monitored by CADMOS as part of the French contribution. The French National Space Agency is pleased that this experiment continues with astronaut Sultan Al-Niyadi. Science knows no boundaries, as this example clearly illustrates.”

The effect of space travel on astronauts' circadian rhythms is an important area of ​​research for the Dream Experiment. The unique conditions aboard the International Space Station, where astronauts witness 16 sunrises and sunsets each day, disrupt the natural day-night cycle, and significantly affect sleep patterns. This study aims to provide key insights that will assist in the design and development of cognitive therapies for astronauts to improve sleep quality and general health during extended space missions.

The results of this experiment will add to the collection of medical and neuroscience data on the International Space Station, which will be studied by the scientific community. The experiment testifies to the commitment of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center to advance the understanding of the challenges and complexity of human space exploration.

The astronaut program of the United Arab Emirates is one of the projects managed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center within the national space program of the United Arab Emirates. It is funded by the Information and Communication Technology Fund of the Communications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (Tedra), which aims to support research and development in the field of information and communication technology in the United Arab Emirates and to raise the country's profile on the world stage.

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