UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has spent the past week making repairs to the International Space Station’s bathroom and acting as a test subject for a heart health study.
It’s the third week aboard the orbiting science laboratory for the Emirati astronaut, who is the first Arab astronaut to embark on a long-term space mission.
Since arriving on the ISS on March 3 for a six-month stay, he has had a busy schedule including performing maintenance, filming content and making live video calls to students as part of an awareness campaign.
“Nasa Flight Engineer Frank Rubio and Flight Engineer Sultan Al Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates have been tasked with removing and replacing a toilet,” Nasa said in a March 15 statement.
“Al Neyadi also repaired damaged paintwork on a stable wall.”
Astronauts have numerous tasks on the ISS, such as These include conducting experiments for scientists on the ground, maintaining the lab, doing botany work, spacewalking to repair or install new equipment on the outside of the station, and professional-level photography.
for dr Al Neyadi will be no different, having taken part in activities ranging from complex scientific investigations to device repairs.
On March 16, he was back to work in the space station bathroom.
“Al Neyadi replaced components in the station’s bathroom, also known as the waste and sanitation compartment, before conducting a functional test,” NASA said.
The space station has a $23 million toilet that was installed in 2020, making it the most expensive built to date.
The Titan toilet has a new design and shape and aims to be more accommodating to women.
dr Al Neyadi spent the day Monday wearing a bio-monitor garment – a device that measures a person’s physiological parameters – and a headband.
“The instrument is equipped with sensors to measure physiological parameters to assess the impact of space travel on heart health,” Nasa said.
He also worked with his American colleagues to incorporate ice stones into the station’s freezer for temperature conditioning.
The cold storage unit is called Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory for ISS (Melfi) and helps preserve biological samples used for experiments, such as blood, saliva, urine, microbial material or plants.
Fresh supplies, including experiments and food, arrived at the station on March 14.
The astronauts transferred the entire cargo of the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS.
There are seven astronauts on board the station – three Americans, three Russians and one Emirati.
Four astronauts, including two Americans and two Saudis, will fly to the ISS on May 12 as part of a privately guided mission by Axiom Space.
They will spend 10 days there and conduct 20 science experiments.
That means three Arabs will be in space at the same time – a record number.
UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi video chats with the public during an event at the Dubai Opera. All photos: Pawan Singh / The National
Updated March 23, 2023 3:30 am