OBBI 270800Z 30017KT CAVOK 19/12 Q1021 NOSIG
In our history, is a time of wonder that I was fortunate to witness. Arabia, was as it is today, in its usual manner of upheaval and unrest. Yet somehow with a bit of will, we managed to achieve moments of pride. We nurtured scholars, inventors, and poets. We were builders that secured water for our land and bridged our nations. We hung gardens from stone, and built mountains in the sand, but the one I lived to see, was us going to space.
Looking out my window at takeoff, and as the ground drifted away; my thoughts rushed out. As the pressure pushed on my ears, I saw beyond the tallest tower. A few ticks later, I was between layered clouds, with distant bodies of water in sight. Twenty minutes in, served with a warm towel, comfortably cruising the stratosphere, I was in awe of the view below. Only to think, of what it must be like from way up above? Past that dark patch, in the indigo sky. What a sight it must be to witness.
On June 17, 1985, at 11:33z, on board the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51-G, Sultan achieved that dream. A series of rockets with the might and thunder of 12,000 kN, lifted him and six other astronauts, to a height of 354.9 km in 8½ min. Orbiting the planet every 90 min, they spent 7 days in the majesty of space, deploying satellite equipment and conducting experiments.
After facing technical and deployment issues with the original ARABSAT-1A. Arabia, united to vindicate the disappointing effort, and earn respect in the global community, by meriting direct involvement. Consumed with Will and Pride, ARABSAT-1 was rebuilt and improved with the designation 1B, then packed for deployment in less than 6 months.
Athletic, Skilled, Motivated, Proud, Relentless, Lt. Col Sultan & Gen AbdulMohsin managed to impress their team and the NASA assessors. It was noted that both candidates were quick to level up and had a genuine dedication to the mission. Joining advanced flight training, and conditioning practice, AlSaud, with over 1,000 hrs of play time with Fighter Jets, was admired by the Commander and Pilot with his abilities during training.
Coinciding with Ramadan, AlSaud opted to continue his fast throughout his training and mission. In space, he observed and reported the new moon, and maintained his rituals based on his point of exit [Cape Canaveral, Fl]. He maintained his prayers with 3 a day, without any special treatment. He celebrated Eid a day after Saudi, with an orbital call with King Fahad bin AbdulAziz, along with the Prince’s father, known currently as King Salman Bin AbdulAziz. It is noted that he is still the only Member of a Royal family or lineage to do so. [Dec-2017]
Other than being the first Muslim and Arab to visit space, AlSaud was busy at work with scheduled experiments, the release of ARABSAT-1B, and data collection directed by various Saudi and Global Organizations, include land surveys of Arabia. That said, it must have been an amazing experience, especially when Lt. Col Sultan, then 28 year of age, is still the youngest person to fly on board the Space Shuttle [The Youngest Person in space being Gherman Titov of Soviet Russia at 25]
After touching down, AlSaud was an instant celebrity, with notes and appearances in global media, a hero’s parade through the streets of the world, a founding member to the Association of Space Explorers, not to forget a Hero and an inspiration to millions.
With a continued message of unity and hope, AlSaud continues his self-appointed mission to inspire the nation towards a brighter future. In a recent interview, he addressed the world to abandon hate, and unite for the greater good. He reminds us of this one Earth that we live on, and how equally precious it is to all.
My Good Sir, I Salute you!
If you think Lt. Col Sultan was taken up based on the merits of Arab royalty and wealth, then allow me to introduce Syrian Air Force Gen. Muhammed Admed Farris, and I ask you to recognize the achievement of the one, over the name. We are not lacking, or unable, we are no weak or brittle, we are Humans. As such, all we can do is achieve.
Since the passing of the 80’s, It seems that as a Nation, we have been in decline towards our global responsibilities. We abandon achievements and replaced them with bought products, we traded self-worth with convenience, and the lessons learned are fading in memory.
With our resources and time, we have what it takes, to do what is hard. People continue to step up to the challenge, and as we were before so shall we be, elevated on the global stage. We have proven our worth with proud achievements, that unified the nation at a time of chaos. Just imagine our collective potential today.
Recently, the United Arab Emirates announced it’s plan to utilize and explore Space, yet without a culture of curiosity and knowledge, ambition is left short. The chaos of our politics, and volatility of our people, has driven us away from imagination and innovation.
Our history is a witness to the abilities we hold as a people. Maybe one day the powers that be, might notice. It seems that the UAE, with the guidance of their leaders, have a romantic ambition to regaining and achieving within a global stage. I for one admire that...
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