RIYADH: When better to publish a book about space than the month of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing? And who better to write it than Prince Sultan bin Salman — the first Arab, first Muslim and first royal in space?
Prince Sultan spent seven days (plus 1 hour, 38 minutes and 52 seconds) in orbit in 1985 as a payload specialist aboard the US Discovery space shuttle.
His book, 7 Days in Space, describes his experiences before, during and after the launch.
“I think it’s the only natural thing to do,” Prince Sultan, now 63 and chairman since December of the new Saudi Space Agency, told Arab News.
The book is filled with pictures that take readers behind the scenes of what a space mission is really like. It includes personal recollections and photos of the royal family throughout his expedition. There are pictures of the gifts his parents gave him, such as a Qu’ran, and the significance of them being taken into space.
The introduction was written by the late Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who proudly describes the success of the mission and what it meant to the Kingdom. It also includes remarks from King Fahd, King Abdullah, King Salman and Princess Sultana Al-Sudairi, Prince Sultan’s mother.
After he returned from his mission, Prince Sultan was hailed a hero in the Arab world. He still flies his own planes around the world, as he looks to keep the flame of adventure alive.
7 Days in Space will be released in major bookstores, and is available online in the Apple and Android stores.