UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, his crewmates from NASA, Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev returned to Earth in the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on Monday, September 4. The splashdown happened in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at 08:17 AM (UAE time). AlNeyadi’s mission has become the longest in Arab history, as Crew-6 spent 186 days in space.

The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohemed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stated on X (formerly Twitter), “AlNeyadi, the people of the UAE are immensely proud of you and the entire team for achieving major advances in space exploration. You carried the dreams of a nation to new frontiers, and we celebrate your pioneering journey and safe return.”Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi appeared from the Dragon spacecraft one hour after the splashdown.Many people witnessed AlNeyadi and his colleagues slide out of the capsule. He received people’s support and greeted the gathering with a smile and thumbs up. However, his initial steps were unsteady as the astronaut needed time to readjust to gravity, especially after the six-month mission. Later, recovery personnel carried him and the crew to the medical bay on a rolling chair.ALSO READ | Bedtime for Pragyan rover as Sun sets on Moon, here are its remarkable findingsAlNeyadi said he couldn’t wait to rejoin friends and family and enjoy “a hot cup of coffee.” Crew-6 commander Stephen Bowen, a former submariner, told CBS News that he looked forward to witnessing “the nice ocean air and peaceful calm seas. That’ll be nice to get back to.” Pilot Woody Hobury said he was looking forward to a “real shower.”On March 2, Crew-6 was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. They spent 185 days and 22 hours in space, orbiting the Earth 2,976 times and travelling 78.9 million miles. Throughout their mission, the Crew-6 astronauts welcomed seven visiting vehicles. They also carried out three spacewalks. Alneyadi joined Bowen for a third excursion to retrieve a failed antenna package and do other maintenance.Station commander Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio were launched to the station last September and will return to Earth 12 days later. Crew-7 members, launched on August 26, will replace Bowen and company. The squad includes Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

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