On Apr. 28, 2023, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi made history by becoming the first Arab astronaut to perform a spacewalk.
The purpose of the extravehicular activity (EVA) was to continue the installation of hardware to support future power system upgrades and retrieve a disabled S-band antenna that will probably be sent back to Earth for repair onboard a SpaceX Cargo Dragon.
This EVA is part of a series of spacewalks to augment the International Space Station’s power channels with new International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs).
The last two iROSAs will be mounted during future spacewalks.
When Bowen opened the hatch the astronauts began their exit at 9:11 a.m. EDT and lasted 7 hours; they returned inside the International Space Station (ISS) at 4:12 p.m. EDT.
According to NASA, this extravehicular activity went well: Bowen and Alneyadi successfully laid cables for the solar arrays and installed insulation.
However, the spacewalkers could not detach the antenna’s Radio Frequency Group (RFG) due to a bolt stuck inside the component; its removal was deferred to a future EVA.
NASA astronaut Steve Bowen served as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) wearing a suit with red stripes. This was the eighth spacewalk in Steve Bowen’s career.
Bowen holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering.
In July 2000, he became the first Submarine Officer selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist.
He is a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and flew again to the International Space Station as Commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on March 2, 2023.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi served as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2) wearing an unmarked suit.
He received a bachelor’s degree of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering, from the University of Brighton in the UK, a Master’s degree in IT, from Griffith University in Australia, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology (Data Leakage Prevention)
AlNeyadi worked as a Network Security Engineer for the UAE Armed Forces and completed the general training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 2021, becoming officially certified to work in space.
“It is a good moment for the UAE, it may be the first in the Arab world but definitely won’t be the last. We have astronauts undergoing training now for future missions to the International Space Station, to the lunar surface and to Mars.”—Sultan AlNeyadi, MRBS Astronaut