King Salman's son Prince Sultan - the first Arab to travel into space in 1985 - named as chairman
Saudi Arabia has announced plans to set up its own space agency, with King Salman's son named as its chairman.
As part of a series of royal decrees to reshape the government, King Salman announced Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Agency at the rank of minister.
Prince Salman was the first Arab and Muslim to travel into space in 1985, helping to deploy a satellite for the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation with NASA.
The announcement comes just weeks after two Saudi-designed satellites were launched into space from China.
The satellites, which were developed by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, will be used to provide high-resolution images of the planet’s surface from low earth orbits, help with urban planning, monitor movements and changes on the earth’s surface, and provide government agencies with services, in particular, high-resolution images.
Known as Sat 5a and Saudi Sat 5b, the satellites were launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.
The launch of the two new satellites comes as part of the Kingdom Vision 2030 aiming to localise strategic technologies, maximize local content and empower the Saudi youths gain knowledge of advanced technologies in the development and manufacture of satellites.