Emirati astronaut Sultan al-Neyadi has officially become the first Arab astronaut to perform a spacewalk, according to reports.
Al Neyadi embarked on the spacewalk at 5:15 p.m. on Friday. The event was live-streamed by NASA.
Earlier, he tweeted, saying: “Counting down the hours until we pass through the ISS airlock into space. Wearing the spacesuit and proudly bearing the UAE flag on my arm, I will soon be undertaking the Arab world’s first spacewalk. Wish us luck!”
The spacewalk is part of a series to augment the station’s power channels with new International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs). Four of the new arrays have been installed so far, and two additional arrays will be mounted to the installed platforms during future spacewalks following their arrival this year on SpaceX’s 28th commercial resupply services mission for NASA.
Astronaut Steve Bowen and UAE astronaut Sultan al Neyadi will exit the station’s Quest airlock to prepare for the future installation of upgraded solar arrays on the starboard side of the station’s truss. The astronauts will then retrieve S-band antenna equipment and bring it inside the space station for refurbishment," NASA said in a statement.
Bowen will serve as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) and will wear a suit with red stripes. Alneyadi will serve as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2) and will wear an unmarked suit. U.S. spacewalk 86 will be the eighth spacewalk for Bowen and the first for any UAE astronaut.
Only 260 spacewalks have taken place at the orbiting science laboratory since 1998.