The first Arab space program

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It happened in Lebanon, beginning in 1960, led by college students at a small college who were interested in rockets and space, and could have made that country prosperous and successful.

Instead, the program was co-opted by the military, and the students all ended up leaving the country to flee its endless wars, with most becoming successful academics here in the U.S.

Read the whole article. It is quite fascinating, and if you are at all familiar with the story of Wernher von Braun and his rocket club, you will immediately recognize the similarities. The one difference is that while von Braun and his rocket friends almost all accepted doing military work to continue to build their rockets, the students in Lebanon did not, abandoning their research to go elsewhere. In fact, it is very likely that they were aware of von Braun’s history, and decided to make a different choice based on what they knew. In the 1960s von Braun was very public about what had happened to him, and often noted that he made a mistake working for the Nazis.

One comment

  • Localfluff

    The best, actually only good, period in the history of the Middle East since Mohamed, was the decades after they lost WWI and were occupied by the UK, France and Italy. Then for the first time they got stuff like freedom, rule of law, a middle class, infrastructure, schools, hospitals. After WWII, I think because the US required decolonization to open markets for them, the colonies transitioned into corrupt military dictatorships. Now they are falling and the ancient chaos and brutality utter poverty and eternal wars take over again. That’s the natural state of the arabic society. Lebanon, with Beirut then called the “Paris of the Orient”, was a precursor of this development in the 1970s when terrorists like PLO destroyed it. And what happened to Lebanon then is now happen to all of Western Europe which will be totally destroyed by the arabic population majority’s civil wars for thousands of years to come. Paris will be know as “Beirut of the West”. I give ESA 10 more years, then no kind of space industry will be possible in the violent ruins of Eurabia.

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