April 19, 2024
Space Events GCC UAE

Catch the ISS Expedition 69 crew in the UAE this week

MBRSC facilitates the visit in collaboration with NASA

Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) is hosting NASA’s Expedition 69 crew (SpaceX Crew-6 mission) on a week-long visit to the UAE, with the NASA, MBRSC astronauts and Roscomos cosmonauts now participating in public-facing events in the Gulf nation.

The Expedition 69 members that spent 186 days onboard the International Space Station (ISS) in low-Earth orbit include NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen (commander), Woody Hoburg (pilot), Frank Rubio (flight engineer), MBRSC astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi (flight specialist), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Andrey Fedyaev (mission specialist), Sergey Prokopyev (commander) and Dmitri Petelin (flight engineer).

Four astronauts lifted off to the ISS from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2023, onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and, subsequently, a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Onboard the ISS

The crew spent their time on the ISS conducting scientific investigations and technology demonstrations to help prepare humans for future space missions and benefit humanity on Earth.

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The Expedition 69 crew inside the ISS’s Kibo laboratory module. Front row L-R: Andrey Fedyaev, Woody Hoburg, Stephen Bowen, Sultan Al Neyadi. Back row L-R: Dmitri Petelin, Sergey Prokopyev, Frank Rubio. Image: NASA

Bowen, Hoburg, Al Neyadi and Fedyaev returned to Earth from the ISS on September 4, 2023.

As part of the UAE Mission 2 initiative of the MBRSC – home of the UAE space programme – Al Neyadi created history by conducting the longest Arab space mission and undertaking the first spacewalk by an Arab astronaut.

The Expedition 69 mission was the first spaceflight for Hoburg, Al Neyadi and Fedyaev.

Accompanied by MBRSC astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the first Arab increment lead of Expedition 69, the Expedition 69 crew began their UAE visit by participating in the Dubai Run held on November 26, 2023, on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai City, where they presented a Dubai 30X30 initiative flag bearing their signatures to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and President of MBRSC.

University visits

While in the UAE, the Expedition 69 crew are engaging with university students across the UAE, including UAE University, American University of Sharjah, University of Sharjah, Higher Colleges of Technology Dubai, American University in Dubai, Khalifa University, and New York University Abu Dhabi.

The astronauts also participate in the ‘Learnings from Space for Humanity’ panel discussion at the Dubai Future Forum on November 27, 2023.

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The Expedition 69 crew get introduced at the Dubai Run on November 26, 2023. Image: MBRSC

Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC, said: “We are honoured to host the distinguished crew of Expedition 69. This visit symbolises the solid international partnerships we have fostered in our space endeavours.

“The success of the UAE Mission 2 to the ISS, led by Sultan Al Neyadi, is a testament to our collective efforts in advancing human spaceflight. We are excited about the knowledge exchange and inspiration this visit will bring our communities.”

Expedition 69 patch

The Expedition 69 patch was designed by NASA graphic artist Blake Dumesnil, who created it from US astronaut Loral O’Hara’s idea inspired by a vintage Art Deco stained glass window in Star City, Russia.

The number ’69’ forms a circle, symbolising the international partnerships and collaboration that make the ISS programme possible. Earth is the central element inside the ‘6’, as humanity’s home planet and the primary beneficiary of research on the ISS.

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Expedition 69 mission patch. Image: NASA

The star shining from Earth, spanning multiple continents, represents the ground teams worldwide who supported every aspect of the expedition and ensured the crew’s safe return to Earth.

According to NASA, the ISS itself signifies the contributions of thousands of people over the past several decades, whose vision and sustained efforts have made the space station an unparalleled success. Looking towards the future, the next significant steps in human space exploration are reflected in the Moon and Mars.

The Sun around Mars symbolises the human imagination, curiosity, and ingenuity that draws us to explore. The two white stars in the sky are taken directly from the Star City mural. The giant star represents the crew’s family and friends whose love and support made the endeavour possible. The smaller star represents the explorers who came before and helped pave the way to the stars.

Featured image: The Expedition 69 crew members present a memento to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Dubai Run on November 26, 2023. Image: MBRSC

Last Updated on 2 months by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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