UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi completed a historic 6-month space mission on board the International Space Station (ISS). During this mission, he conducted over 200 advanced research experiments and studies in collaboration with 10 international space agencies and 25 UAE and global universities. These experiments covered a range of topics including the cardiovascular system, back pain, protein crystallization growth, epigenetics, immune system, fluid dynamics, plant biology, human life sciences, material science, sleep analysis, radiation, and advanced exploration technologies.
Firsts for a UAE Astronaut
AlNeyadi accomplished several firsts for a UAE astronaut during this mission. He became the first Arab to complete a 7-hour spacewalk. He also engaged in 19 educational and community outreach events called the “A Call from Space” series, where over 10,000 people from all walks of life interacted with the Emirati astronaut through live video calls and ham radio sessions.
Protein Crystal Growth Experiment (PCG)
AlNeyadi engaged in an innovative Protein Crystal Growth Experiment (PCG) on board the Kibo module on the ISS. The experiment was launched on the Space X-28 cargo mission and was installed by AlNeyadi. The experiment theme was proposed by a research team from the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in the UAE in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School in the USA and in compliance with a collaborative agreement between the UAE Space Agency, MBRSC and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
AlNeyadi and his Expedition 69 crew members made significant strides in microgravity research during their mission. They conducted pioneering scientific investigations on the cardiovascular system, plant biology, material science, fluid science, sleep analysis, and other topics.
Sleep Quality Experiment
Al Neyadi completed an experiment on the ISS that seeks to reveal more about sleep quality on extended missions. The Emirati astronaut wore a specially-designed headband to capture key data. The Dreams experiment employs the “dry-EEG (electroencephalography)” system to monitor sleep patterns of astronauts in the microgravity environment on the space station. The unique conditions aboard the space station can disrupt natural sleep patterns, which can significantly affect sleep quality.
Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Cardiobreath Experiments
As part of a set of experiments on the ISS, AlNeyadi took part in the “Cardinal Heart 2.0” study by Stanford University. The study explores the effects of clinical drugs on heart cells in microgravity using heart tissues. AlNeyadi also contributed to the Cardiobreath experiment on the ISS. The experiment is a critical analysis of the impact of microgravity on cardiovascular and respiratory functions and was conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Simon Fraser University, and The University of North Dakota.
AlNeyadi also participated in the host-pathogen experiment to analyze the reaction between astronauts’ immunity and the microbial pathogens on the ISS. This experiment was conducted in collaboration with NASA’s Johnson Space Centre. The results of the study would be analyzed through AlNeyadi’s DNA samples collected aboard the ISS and on Earth. The host-pathogen study examines the interaction between astronauts and microbial pathogens that may be present within the environment of the space station through biological sample collection. This will offer an overall understanding of the effects of stress hormones and latent virus reactivation in the astronaut’s immunity system.
Education Outreach and Engagement Efforts
AlNeyadi’s mission will further comprise education outreach and engagement efforts to inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers. As part of the UAE Astronaut Programme Grants Research Programme, MBRSC has selected two research projects from the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU). These experiments have been instrumental in helping the scientific community, researchers, and students in the UAE and around the world become an integral part of the mission, supporting it in various capacities.