The Emirati astronauts Hazaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi celebrated the 35th anniversary of Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud’s mission to space.
Al-Mansouri said, through his Twitter account: “When I was young, Prince Sultan bin Salman’s mission to space taught me to make my ambitions up the sky,” adding that “the mission is a clear demonstration that dreams, no matter how old I get, can be fulfilled with passion and determination.”
While Al-Neyadi said, on his Twitter account also, that the mission over 35 years ago taught him that it is possible to dream, persevere and make history, thanking Prince Sultan bin Salman by saying: “Thank you for making us believe in the power of dreams … our role and inspiration will always remain”.
The historic trip to space took place on 17 June through 24 June 1985.
About Prince Sultan
His full name is Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He was born on 27 June 1956. He is a former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot who flew aboard the American STS-51-G Space Shuttle mission as a payload specialist, and a member of the House of Saud. He is the first member of a royal family to fly in space as well as the first Arab and Muslim to fly in space. Also, he was at the age of 28 as the youngest person ever to fly on the Space Shuttle.
On 27 December 2018, he was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Space Agency at the rank of minister.
- Sultan bin Salman started his career in 1982 as a researcher in the department of international communications at the Ministry of Information in Saudi Arabia. His tenure lasted until 1984.
- He served as deputy director of the Saudi media committee for the Saudi athletes participating in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Later that year, the department of TV advertising was created at the Ministry of Information, and he was appointed its acting director.
- From 17 June through 24 June 1985, he flew as a payload specialist on STS-51-G Discovery. As one of a seven-member international crew, which also included American and French astronauts, he represented the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT) in deploying its satellite, ARABSAT-1B.
- Later, he assisted in establishing the Association of Space Explorers, an international organization comprising all astronauts and cosmonauts who have been in space, and served on its executive board of directors for several years.
- In 1985, Sultan recorded a commercial message that was broadcast on MTV during the Live Aid concert event. His message mentioned his recent trip on the Space Shuttle and was one of 33 such by notable individuals including Cesar Chavez, Coretta Scott King, Carl Sagan, Jesse Jackson, and Peter Ueberroth. Sultan bin Salman served in the Royal Saudi Air Force beginning in 1985 and held the rank of lieutenant colonel. He retired from the air force in 1996 with the rank of colonel.
- At the time of his space flight, Sultan had over 1,000 cumulative hours of flight time; as of 2012, he has over 5,000 flight hours as a military and civilian pilot.
On 27 December 2018, Sultan bin Salman was appointed as Chairman of the Board (in the rank of a minister) to the newly established space commission in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Space Commission. From 2009 until joining the space commission, Sultan bin Salman served as the President and Chairman of the Board with the rank of a Minister of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). He had served as the Commission’s Secretary-General since its inception in 2000. It is claimed that as Secretary-General, he contributed significantly to the improvement of Saudi Arabia’s tourism and national heritage strategy and organizational building and innovation in the Saudi government.