The Emirati astronaut said on Wednesday that he will not be required to fast during Ramadan on his next mission to the International Space Station (ISS). He is due to fly to the ISS on February 26 aboard a SpaceX Dragon ship.
“My scenario is that of a traveler and the latter can interrupt his fast,” Sultan al-Neyadi replied Wednesday at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims generally fast from dawn until sunset.
“Fasting is not obligatory if, for example, one does not feel well,” he continued. “In this regard, anything that may compromise the mission or could endanger the crew members allows sufficient food to be eaten.”
At 41, Sultan al-Neyadi will become the first astronaut from an Arab country to spend six months in space. During his mission, he will be alongside the Americans Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg as well as the Russian Andrey Fedyaev.
The latter, for their part, were questioned about the consequences of the tensions on earth, in particular those in Ukraine, on their journey in space. “I’ve been working and training with cosmonauts for over 20 years and it’s always been amazing,” said NASA’s Stephen Bowen. “Once in space, there is only one crew, one vehicle and we all have the same objective,” he added.
Andrey Fedyaev underlined the “very long history” of space cooperation between Russia and the United States. “People’s life in space, in the International Space Station, is really a very good example of how people should live on earth.”
The ISS has been one of the few remaining fields of cooperation between Moscow and Washington since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, launched on February 24, and the Western sanctions that followed.
The International Space Station was launched in 1998 at a time of US-Russian cooperation, following the space race the two countries engaged in during the Cold War.