Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz expressed his desire of Saudi scientific personnel to be trained by Russia. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Space Agency. He was the first Arab, the first Muslim and the first member of the House of Saud to fly into space to the US Space Shuttle Mission, in 1985 as a payload specialist. He is also a former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot.
This desire of engaging Russian expertise to train the Saudi scientific personnel was expressed when the prince started his three-day visit to Russia on April 17. He said, “The training of the country’s specialists, not only astronauts, but also technical staff and scientists, as well as advanced training of scientific personnel is of major importance for us. It will influence our strategic space program. And we think that Russia will take its proper place in this cooperation.”
As stated by the prince, multiple countries with extensive experience in space explorations are being visited by Saudi delegations after which the best proposals will be considered with due deliberation. The results of the negotiations with Russia will also be announced later.
Russia has also invited Saudi Arabia to participate in the flight program to the International Space Station; which will be considered and decided later by Saudi Arabia after having taken into account the word of neighboring Arab states about the venture, particularly the say of the United Arab Emirates, further added the Saudi prince. The prince also went on to deliberate on his maintained relations with many Russian and Soviet cosmonauts since 1985 and stated that this was not his first visit to Russia.