On March 28th, 2023, the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft undocked, marking the official commencement of Expedition 69. This historic mission includes Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the first Arab increment lead for an International Space Station (ISS) expedition, and Sultan AlNeyadi, the first Arab astronaut to embark on a long-duration spaceflight.
Al Mansoori will guide the ISS crew through every aspect of the mission, ensuring seamless integration and execution of ISS crew activities throughout Expedition 69. This role involves managing, developing, implementing, and communicating mission integration procedures, ensuring the mission’s efficiency and effectiveness.
The expedition includes multiple experiments, including investigating the effects of microgravity on material combustion, testing a novel tool for deep-space immune monitoring, and advancing research on 3D-cultured cardiac muscle tissue. AlNeyadi will also test samples for microorganisms from outside the space station.
In his role as Increment Lead, Al Mansoori shoulders a critical responsibility for the seamless integration and execution of ISS crew activities throughout Expedition 69. He will ensure the mission’s efficiency and effectiveness by serving as the primary point of contact between the ground team and the ISS crew during real-time operations.
The Expedition 69 crew aboard the ISS comprises astronauts Sultan AlNeyadi, Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, Frank Rubio, Dmitri Petelin, Sergey Prokopyev, and Andrey Fedyaev. With their groundbreaking experiments, the crew is broadening our knowledge of space and understanding of life in microgravity.
The completion of this six-month mission will make a substantial contribution to the UAE’s knowledge of space and set the stage for future human space exploration. Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), called the mission a tremendous accomplishment for the UAE and the entire Arab region, representing the longest Arab space mission to date and marking the first time an Arab astronaut has been appointed as Increment Lead.