Students graduating from the University of Brighton this week have received an incredible video message congratulating them on their achievement from a fellow Brighton graduate currently living and working 250 miles above the Earth.
Astronaut Dr Sultan Al Neyadi – who graduated from the University of Brighton in 2004 – is part of a six-month joint NASA/Space-X mission to the International Space Station. He and his crew blasted off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on March 2 and are due to return to Earth in September.
In a message recorded specially for the 3,000 University of Brighton students taking part in graduation ceremonies this week (25-28 July), Dr Al Neyadi congratulated them for their "patience and dedication" and wished them well in their future endeavours. He signed off the message with "See you soon" before floating out of shot thanks to the zero-gravity atmosphere on the ISS.
Sultan's journey to space began almost 20 years ago when he came to the UK to study for an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the University of Brighton. After graduating in 2004, further studies took him back to his native United Arab Emirates where he earned a master's degree in computer engineering, and later gained a doctorate in Australia.
Video: University of Brighton.
Sultan's big break came when he was selected as one of two people from more than 4,000 candidates to become the first Emirati astronauts, allowing him to enter the UAE Astronaut Programme at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. For three years prior to lift-off he trained in Houston, Texas.
During his stay on board the ISS, Dr Al Neyadi is involved in carrying out a range of experiments, including experiments related to human physiology and robotics, as well as carbon dioxide removal from sealed habitats. He has also been interacting with school children around the globe via video link, helping to inspire a new generation to reach for the stars.
Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: "Sultan is an example to us all of how hard work and dedication can be channelled and focused into the most incredible achievement. He continues to be an inspiration to our students – past, present and future – and shows that the Brighton Effect really can lead our graduates to the most incredible places.
"I want to thank Sultan for his very special message, and I hope it will provide added inspiration to our 3,000 students who will cross the stage this week to become graduates of the University of Brighton. They join a global community of 190,000 alumni in 140 countries who are putting their learning and knowledge to use to create positive change and shape a better future for us all."
Professor Humphris continued: "Sultan's achievements are, quite literally, out of this world. He is a credit to our university and we cannot wait to hear about his exploits when he returns to Earth."
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