May 12, 2023

Since his arrival at the space station on March 3, the Emirati astronaut, Sultan Al Neyadi, has faced an obvious question: How will he fast during Ramadan when he sees 16 sunsets per day.

Whereas, during his journey, Muslims on earth will celebrate the month of Ramadan from the evening of March 22 to April 21.

It is normal for Muslims to break their fast at sunset, but what if it is a Muslim? An astronaut aboard the International Space Station orbits Earth at 17,000 miles per hour (27,600 kilometers per hour), which means he sees 16 sunrises and sunsets every day.

Al-Neyadi previously answered this question that, as an astronaut, he falls under the definition of “traveler,” which exempts him from obligatory fasting, as he said, “We can actually break the fast … this is not obligatory.”

He added, “Fasting is not compulsory if you feel unwell. So in that regard – anything that could jeopardize the mission or possibly endanger crew members – we are actually allowed to eat enough food to prevent any fallout from lack of food, nutrition or water.”

Al-Neyadi told reporters during a press conference in Dubai in February that he could fast according to Greenwich Mean Time, or Coordinated Universal Time, which is used as the official time zone on the space station.

During a previous conference in January, Al-Neyadi told reporters: “If we have the opportunity, it is certain that Ramadan is a good occasion for fasting, and it is actually healthy. We will wait and see how things go.”

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