UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) received a hero’s welcome upon landing in Abu Dhabi after completing a successful six-month mission at the International Space Station (ISS).
On Monday, September 18, at 5:30 pm UAE time (7 pm IST), the aircraft from the UAE, carrying Sultan Al Neyadi and fellow members of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), touched down on the runway at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
He was received with a heartfelt welcome by three of his six children and his father, who had been eagerly waiting outside the gate.
Al Neyadi received greetings and congratulations from President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President-Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, on the accomplishment of his successful space mission.
Al Neyadi presented the UAE flag he had taken to space as a gift to Sheikh Mohamed.
A warm welcome featured Emirati students donning astronaut flight suits and large screens throughout the terminal, showcasing the astronaut’s portraits along with a message celebrating his homecoming.
Al Neyadi participated in the traditional Ayala dance, holding a stick and matching his steps with the skilled traditional dancers who were putting on a performance in his honour.
“I was honoured to join my brother Mohammed bin Rashid to celebrate the homecoming of our astronaut, Sultan Al Neyadi. The people of the UAE are united in pride for his remarkable achievement, which has further advanced our nation’s space exploration ambitions,” UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan wrote on X.
To commemorate a significant Emirati accomplishment, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai revealed its plans on Monday to unveil a unique stamp with the motto “The Homecoming of Hero Sultan Al Neyadi” at Dubai airports on September 18 and 19.
“This exclusive stamp will be used at Dubai Airports on September 18–19 in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC),” stated the GDRFA in a statement.
Al Neyadi, 42, who embarked on his space journey on March 3, conducted over 200 experiments while aboard the orbiting outpost.
Al Neyadi, along with his fellow crew members from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission, safely concluded their return to Earth by landing off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at 8:17 am (UAE time) on Monday, September 4, aboard SpaceX’s Dragon’s Endeavor spacecraft.