Muslims have been pioneers in science since the Islamic Golden Age, they’ve been responsible for contributing to some of the biggest Astrological, Mathematical and Philosophical finds that have impacted science and research till today. They played a major role in Astronomy, in studying the sun, moon and the earth with the creation of Astrolabes and making major improvements to the sun dials for faster calculations but the Muslims quest for space didn’t end in the golden age, it had just begun.
Fast track to the 20th Century and Muslims took the first step into space. Sultan Salman Al Saud from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became the first Muslim to venture into space. Sultan served a crucial role in his space mission code named STS-51G Discovery where he was a payload specialist.
2 years after Sultan Salman Al Saud, Musa Manarov, a Muslim from the Soviet Union broke new bounds in space travel. Musa became the first Muslim and human to spend the most time in space. His two trips into space totaled 541 days, he served as a flight engineer on both. Musa’s mission was scientific research where he observed the earth, worked in space manufacturing and also performed 20 hours of spacewalks.
The legacy of Musa and Sultan live on till today and have inspired many Muslim astronauts to venture into space. They have also inspired Muslim countries to build space programs centered around scientific experimentation and space exploration.
Iran and United Arab Emirates, have space programs which are perfect example of how Muslims are actively contributing to space exploration. Last July, UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, signed a law to inaugurate the UAE Space Agency. The launch of the program was just the icing on the cake, he also made the announcement of plans to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2021. The president stated that “we aim for the UAE to be among the top countries in aerospace by 2021.” UAE intends to become the new pioneer in space exploration and research in the Muslim world and have already invested $5.45 Billion in space technology.
As time goes by, Muslims contributions to space are becoming more and more pivotal and inspiring and have sparked a new thirst to learn more about the universe and the stars that are beyond our home planet.