Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud MP

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Birthdate: (57)
Birthplace: Riyadh, Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia
Occupation: First Arab, the first Muslim, and the first member of royalty in space.
Managed by: Ric Dickinson
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About Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: سلطان بن سلمان بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎) is a former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot who flew aboard the STS-51-G Space Shuttle mission as a Payload Specialist. He is a grandson of King Ibn Saud and is the only Saudi citizen to travel in space. He was also the first Arab, the first Muslim, and the first member of royalty in space.


Sultan was born June 27, 1956, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the second son of the Governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. He completed his elementary and secondary education in Riyadh, and earned a master's in Social and Political Science at Syracuse University in the USA. He is a certified civil pilot (FAA, USA-1978) and a fighter pilot, Colonel (retired)- Royal Saudi Air Force.

Sultan bin Salman is one of many nephews of the King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.


In 1982, he was appointed to the position of researcher in the Department of International Communications at the Ministry of Information in Saudi Arabia.

In 1984, he served as Deputy Director for the Saudi Arabian Olympic Information Committee at the Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Later that year, when the Department of Advertising was created at the Ministry of Information, he was appointed its Acting Director.

In 1985, he flew as a payload specialist on STS-51-G Discovery (June 17–24 , 1985). 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 their satellite, ARABSAT-1B. Sultan also holds the record for being the youngest person to fly on the Space Shuttle, at the age of 28. Upon conclusion of his flight, he helped to found the Association of Space Explorers, an international organization comprising all astronauts and cosmonauts who have been in space, and served on its 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 Caesar Chavez, Coretta Scott King, Carl Sagan, Jesse Jackson and Peter Ueberroth.

In 1985 he was commissioned as an officer into the Royal Saudi Air Force. He holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and is qualified in several military and civilian aircraft.

In 1986, Sultan bought the old Al-'Udhaibat farm in the Wadi Hanifa, west of Riyadh. On the advice of Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, who introduced him to the works of Hassan Fathy, he began a project of restoring the main farm building built in the traditional way with adobe walls. Under the direction of the Egyptian architect Saleh Lamei the project grew to a general study of traditional Saudi architecture and its adaption to modern techniques and needs. This spurred Sultan's involvement with the education of architects and civil engineers within the kingdom.

In 1989 and again in 1992, he was elected to the position of Chairman of the Saudi Benevolent Association for Handicapped Children, where he also served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research.

In 1991, he accepted an invitation from the Board of Directors of the Saudi Computer Society to become Honorary Chairman, and in 1993 due to his special interest in architecture he agreed to serve as Honorary President of the al-Umran Saudi Association (a society of specialists in the fields of the built environment).

Sultan became the Secretary-General of the Supreme Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) in 2000. His term of service was extended for another four years in February 2008.

He enjoys gliding[6] and skiing in his spare time[citation needed].

Current activities

  • President & Chairman of the Board, The Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA), KSA.[7]
  • Member of the Board of Directors & Executive Committee, Chairman of the King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) Supervisory Committee - General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Disabled Children Association (DCA), KSA.
  • Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Prince Salman Center for Disability Research (PSCDR), KSA.
  • Founder and President, Al Turath, KSA (an organization dedicated to the preservation and development of Saudi national heritage).
  • Founder and Chairman of the Board, The Saudi Aviation Club
  • Chairman of the Executive Committee, The Prince Salman Science Oasis (A science center and museum)
  • Founding Member and Member of the Board, The Graduates Society of Model Institute of the Capital, Riyadh, KSA.
  • Member of the Executive Committee Development Ad-Diriyah, KSA.
  • Member of the Board of Trustees, King AbdulAziz Foundation-al Madinah al-Monawarah, KSA.
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Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's Timeline

June 27, 1956
Riyadh, Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia