Earlier this month, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi made history as he blasted off into space towards the International Space Station (ISS) for the longest Arab space mission. To mark the occasion, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had tweeted, “I join the nation in congratulating Sultan Al Neyadi as he begins his pioneering mission aboard the International Space Station. His inspiring achievement is a source of great pride to the UAE and another milestone in the journey of our nation and the ambitions of our people.”
Since then Al Neyadi has been sharing regular updates from his time in space, giving everyone here on Earth a chance to see what life as an astronaut looks like in the modern day. The astronaut marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan by sharing nighttime views from the cupola – an observatory module in the ISS. In a video posted on his Twitter, Al Neyadi starts by showing a blazing sun setting on the horizon, right after it disappears in a flare of red light he zooms onto the crescent moon of Ramadan.
مبارك عليكم الشهر 🌙
اسأل الله ان يهل علينا شهر رمضان بالخير والبركة على الجميع..
اهديكم هذه المشاهد الليلية الجميلة من محطة الفضاء الدولية.
Ramadan Mubarak 🌙
Wishing you all a month filled with blessings
Sharing the beautiful night time scenery from the International Space… pic.twitter.com/oF3557vXtm
— Sultan AlNeyadi (@Astro_Alneyadi) March 23, 2023
The astronaut can be heard narrating the entire experience, he mentions the red of twilight and how the stars and planets begin to appear once the sun sets. He ends by saying, “We see the crescent of Ramadan. May God bring blessings to everyone.” It is not confirmed whether Al Neyadi will be fasting during his time at the ISS. During a preflight press conference, he mentioned that he fulfilled the definition of a traveler which exempts him from the obligation of fasting.
If the history-making astronaut does decide to fast at any point, he would not be the first person to do so. When Prince Sultan bin Salman of Saudi Arabia flew the US space shuttle Discovery in 1985 to become the first Muslim in space he had been fasting. Much like Al Neyadi, he too spent Eid Al Fitr in space and later spoke extensively about his experience practicing Islamic duties while in space.