1985, First Royal Family Member to Fly Into Space, Returns to Earth
On this day on June 24, 1985, the first royal family member to fly into space and returns to Earth. The Sultan bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia was on board as a payload specialist became the first member of royalty to fly into space. Meanwhile, he became as well as the first Arab and the first Muslim to fly into space.
Most importantly, STS-51-G was the 18th flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, and the fifth flight of Space Shuttle Discovery. The seven-day mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, during on June 17, 1985. STS-51-G landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, during on June 24, 1985.
Further, it also the very first Space Shuttle mission which flew without at least one astronaut from the pre-Shuttle era among its crew.
STS-51-G mission crewed by Commander Daniel C. Brandenstein (United States), Pilot John O. Creighton (United States), Mission Specialist John M. Fabian (United States), Mission Specialist Steven R. Nagel (United States), Mission Specialist Shannon W. Lucid (United States), Payload Specialist Patrick Baudry (France) and Payload Specialist Sultan Salman Al Saud (Saudi Arabia).
STS-51-G Primary Cargo
On the other hand, STS-51-G carried three communications satellites as its primary cargo. These were Arabsat-1B (Arab Satellite Communications Organization); Morelos I (Mexico); and Telstar 3D (AT&T Corporation). All three successfully utilized PAM-D booster stages to achieve geosynchronous transfer orbits after being deployed from Discovery.