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Pioneer or Tourist?  Controversy in Egypt about the first woman to visit space

Pioneer or Tourist? Controversy in Egypt about the first woman to visit space

The Egyptian Space Agency’s “proud” blessing for the first Egyptian astronaut, Sarah Sabry, sparked a wide debate among specialists and users of social networking sites about whether she was actually the first female astronaut, or whether what was going on is a vulgarity of the title, in light of an obsession that is still interactive regarding the crisis of Ghada Wali’s drawings. On the walls of Cairo metro stations, which were stolen from a Russian artist, after the uproar that accompanied the painter’s appearance, her rise, and her official honor as a role model for a successful girl.

The blessing of the Egyptian Agency came after the announcement by Blue Origin, a space tourism company owned by the founder of “Amazon” and billionaire Jeff Bezos, a few days ago about the crew that will travel on its NS-22 mission, including Sarah Sabry, to be the first Egyptian astronaut, under the auspices of the Space Foundation. for Humanity as part of the company’s 22nd flight into space aboard its New Shepherd rocket.

Below the news published on the page of the newly established authority, a sarcastic comment was made by an Egyptian astronaut in Japan, Dr. Muhammad Ali Hassan, saying: “Shame on you, the Egyptian Space Agency, for this statement to be issued by you, and make an account that one day we will have, God willing, the first real astronaut, ok Then what are you going to say about Sarah?

Hassan continued, in a comment on his Facebook page: “The truth is that Sarah Sabry is the first Egyptian space tourist (tourist) and not an astronaut in the first place, and Sarah’s seat in the tourist trip was paid for by the Space Organization for Humanity, and the whole trip is on each other a few minutes, of them less 3 Minutes near the Karman line (100 km from sea level) and the rest of the minutes between going up by a missile and landing the tourists with a capsule hanging with parachutes.”

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He went on to say: “For simplicity, not irony, space tourism means that someone like Hamu Beka – a popular singer with limited education – can participate in a trip if he buys a ticket.”

In a previous article in the Journal of Scientific Progress, published in 2019, the Egyptian scientist explained that “space tourism means traveling to outer space for recreational or recreational purposes, or contemplating the view of our blue planet from space, or even relaxing in unique conditions, namely, zero gravity or gravity. Partial, in tourism that has become the focus of the attention of businessmen first, then tourists who wish to experience a new tourism that may be available to them once in a lifetime, and this means that space tourism will not be for scientific purposes, and that customers are nothing but ordinary passengers who are not charged with any scientific activity during those flights. .

Agency responds

The Egyptian Space Agency responded to the Egyptian scientist’s comment by saying that it is proud of the engineer Sarah Sabry, who was chosen by the company among a very large number of applicants. The agency confirmed that its statement did not mention that Sabry was going on a technical mission to space, and that the announcement was published with pride for the daughter of Egypt, to make it clear that the agency is only congratulating.

Muhammad Ali Hassan did not leave the response without comment, as he said: “You certainly understand that calling all the tourists who rode with them the title of astronauts are not true, but rather to attract more customers and material gains, simply if Sarah is an astronaut, then half the number of people – 4 billion – pilots because they have flown planes at least once in their lives.

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Hassan called on the Egyptian Space Agency to search for his name to ascertain his capacity and scientific capacity, adding: “You will find that I was assigned to work in the Egyptian space project for a year, specifically 2004, before returning to the Japanese Space Agency, and perhaps there are a number of leaders of the Egyptian Space Agency who still remember me, so please accept the advice so as not to Lose confidence while you are at the beginning and accept my regards.”

The software engineer who works for one of the famous companies in the United States, Ahmed Salam, considered that the wording of the congratulations and its source is what angered many, especially those with a scientific background or Egyptians living in the West.

And he continued, by saying on his personal page on “Facebook”: “The title of the news made some wonder about the definition of an astronaut, in the Egyptian sense, and did everyone who embarked on a tourist space flight become an astronaut?”

Salam explained that “flights without a scientific or research purpose are recreational tourist trips. Therefore, it became surprising that the Egyptian Space Agency entered the line with congratulations in a formula that called an astronaut, accompanied by the term “journey into space.”

The controversy of the media and the tweeters

The spread of the news on women’s pages celebrating Sabry, the media close to the authority, prompted Amr Adib to make a telephone interview with her, and it seemed to the program’s followers that he tried to evade as much as possible in order to appear neutral between the arguing, so he divided its paragraph in half; The first is an introduction in which he says well-known facts about space tourism and those who pay huge sums of money to visit space, noting that Sabry is the first Egyptian girl to visit space, while the second half of the paragraph is an intervention in which she says what she wants on her responsibility.

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Tweeters questioned Sabri’s qualifications and the programs she obtained, citing the crisis of the painter Ghada Wali, and while the tweeters considered her a different model that did not fabricate the facts, unlike Wali, and that those who implicated her in the trap by blowing her image are women’s pages, others said that the girl deliberately inflated her qualifications, which is what Tweeters denied it, stressing that her qualifications are indeed great and “spent on her.”

In defining herself, it was stated in her biography that she is a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the American University, has training in space engineering, and has undergone a space simulation experience. Mars University, then I got a ticket from Space for Humanity.

The Egyptian Space Agency is an Egyptian public economic authority with a legal personality and follows the President of the Republic. It was established by Law No. 3 of 2018, and aims to develop and transfer space technology sciences, settling and developing them, and owning the self-capacity to build satellites and launch them from Egyptian territory.

As for “Blue Origin”, it is one of three space program programs, competing with the two “SpaceX Virgin Galactic” programs.