Houston (United States) (AFP) – Emirati Sultan Al Neyadi, the first Arab to participate in a six-month mission in space, confirmed on Wednesday that he is not obligated to fast Ramadan after launching to the International Space Station at the end of next month.
“In my case, I can be classified as a traveler, and the traveler has the right to interrupt his fast,” Al-Neyadi said in response to a question during a press conference on Wednesday at the Johnson Space Center in the American city of Houston.
“Fasting is not obligatory if, for example, one feels that his health is not well,” he added.
“From here we are allowed to eat a sufficient amount of food in order to avoid anything that might undermine the mission or threaten the crew members,” Al-Neyadi continued.
Al-Neyadi, 41, will become the first Arab to spend six months in space after his scheduled launch on February 26 to the International Space Station via the “Falcon 9” rocket manufactured by the “SpaceX” company.
Al Neyadi will also be the second Emirati to participate in a space flight, after Hazzaa Al Mansouri, who spent eight days on the International Space Station in September 2019.
Al Neyadi will carry out this task alongside the Americans Stephen Boone and Warren Hoberg, and the Russian Andrey Vidyaev. The questions addressed to them during the press conference on Wednesday centered on the impact of the situation in Ukraine on their journey into space.
“I’ve been working and training with astronauts for more than 20 years, and it’s always been great,” said Stephen Boone of the US space agency (NASA).--
“Once we’re in space, there will only be one crew and one vehicle with which we will share the same goals,” he added.-
For his part, Andrei Vidyaev pointed out that there is a “very long history” of cooperation between Russia and the United States in the field of space.
“The life of people in space, on the International Space Station, is really a very good example of how people should live on Earth,” said the Russian cosmonaut.
The International Space Station is one of the rare remaining areas of cooperation between Moscow and Washington since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and the Western sanctions that followed.
NASA officials announced that they are planning a five-day handover transition between the new crew and the four members of the old crew.
The International Space Station was established in 1998 during a stage of cooperation between the United States and Russia, after the two countries competed to conquer space during the Cold War.
© 2023 AFP