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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi & three space station fliers return to Earth after six-month voyage

On September 4, the SpaceX Dragon spaceship carried the Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, and UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi back to Earth.

At 8:17 a.m. (UAE time), a splashdown occurred in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Al Neyadi's mission, which lasted 186 days in space, is now the longest in Arab history.


Sheikh Mohemed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates, wrote on X (previously Twitter), "Al Neyadi, the UAE people are extremely proud of you and the entire team for reaching major advancements in space exploration. We honor your pioneering journey and safe return because you brought the aspirations of an entire country to uncharted territory.

One hour after splashdown, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi descended from the Dragon spacecraft.

AlNeyadi and his companions were seen by many people slipping out of the capsule. He accepted the crowd's encouragement and gave everyone a thumbs up as he smiled. The astronaut, especially after the six-month trip, took some time to return to gravity, thus his first few steps were shaky. Later, a moving chair with the crew was used to transport him and the crew to the medical bay.

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Al Neyadi expressed his eagerness to reunite with his loved ones and have "a hot cup of coffee." Former submariner and Crew-6 captain Stephen Bowen told CBS News that he was eager to experience "the beautiful ocean air and serene calm seas. It will be good to return to that. Woody Hobury, a pilot, said he was anticipating taking a "real shower."

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched Crew-6 on March 2. They traveled 78.9 million miles and orbited the Earth 2,976 times during their 185 days and 22 hours in space. The Crew-6 astronauts received seven incoming vehicles throughout their mission. They performed three spacewalks as well. Al Neyadi went on a third expedition with Bowen to get a broken antenna package and perform other maintenance.

Last September, three astronauts—NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, Dmitri Petelin, and station commander Sergey Prokopyev—were sent to the station and will depart for Earth in 12 days. Members of Crew-7, which launched on August 26, will take the position of Bowen and co. The crew consists of cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, and Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli.