UAE_President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
This file handout photo, released by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 31, 2019, shows the UAE's Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during a meeting in the Saudi holy city of Mecca; he became the UAE president after the death of his half-brother Saudi Royal Palace via AFP / BANDAR AL-JALOUD

Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who returned to Earth on Sunday after completing the longest Arab space mission in history, has received congratulatory messages from the United Arab Emirates leaders on social media.

Al Neyadi spent 186 days on the International Space Station (ISS) alongside NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev. He now holds the record as the first Arab to perform a spacewalk and spend six months in space.

UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to share how proud the people of the UAE are of Al Neyadi and the whole team.

"The people of the UAE are immensely proud of you and the entire team for achieving major advances in space exploration," he posted. "You carried the dreams of a nation to new frontiers, and we celebrate your pioneering journey and safe return."

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of UAE and current ruler of Dubai, also came up with a post on X to congratulate Al Neyadi.

"We congratulate the people of the UAE and all Arab youth on the safe return of Sultan Al Neyadi to planet Earth - the first Arab astronaut on a long mission to the International Space Station," he wrote, as per Zawya's translation of the post that was written in Arabic.

He added, "Sultan conducted 200 scientific research missions, spent more than 4,400 hours in space, and inspired millions of Arab youths that we are able to contribute positively to humanity's scientific and civilized march."

Meanwhile, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who has been serving as Dubai Crown Prince since 2008, noted how remarkable the journey was for the UAE.

"A milestone moment for a nation whose ambitions know no limits," he wrote. "As we look towards new adventures in space, the UAE continues to pursue its vision for a brighter Arab future. We are proud of Sultan's 200 experiments on the ISS, which further consolidate our nation's legacy in the global space arena."

During the longest Arab space mission, which was launched on March 2, Al Neyadi performed more than 200 experiments in collaboration with international space agencies and several UAE and global universities.

These experiments will help in various fields including plant genetics, human life sciences, exploration technology, fluid dynamics, material science, protein crystallization growth and advanced exploration technologies.

The space mission was managed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), which was established in 2006 and is located in Al Khawaneej, Dubai. Yousuf Hamad Alshaibani serves as the director general of the space center.