Omar Samra was the first Egyptian to summit Mt. Everest in 2007 and now he is hoping to be the first Egyptian man in space! The founder of Wild Guanabana and one of the most recognizable faces in Egypt as a result of extensive media coverage surrounding his mountaineering exploits, Samra is participating in the international LYNX Space Academy competition designed to give relatively ordinary people to experience going into space.
If selected to move on to the competitions’s second phase, which involves intense character and endurance testing, Samra will travel in a “highly advanced and fully reusable aircraft developed by the Space Expedition Corporation (Space DC).” Buzz Aldrin will be at the helm.
Once slated to live a life as a boring (but rich) banking executive, Samra opted instead to follow his dreams. He threw off the corporate shackles and embraced life as a professional mountaineer.
In addition to exploring the edges of his own limits on mountaintops from South America to Africa, Samra has helped scores of other people do the same through his business.
“I’ve always been fascinated with pushing the mental and physical envelope and been inspired by tales of people who have done so,” he told Green Prophet in a recent email exchancge.
“I firmly believe that the spirit of pushing our boundaries and imagination are the single biggest catalysts behind human advancements and I would love to play a small part in that.”
Now he has a chance to go where no other Egyptian has gone before: to space.
LYNX scours talent from around the world before selecting a small group of winners who will be sent to space on a fully reusable XCOR Lynx (Space XC) said Samra.
Before they can fly, however, contestants are expected to reach the second round of the competition through a rigorous endurance test that measures each person’s physical and emotional reaction to the extreme conditions of space travel.
“I would be honored to represent my country in such a challenging pursuit and use this as a platform to inspire,” Samra continued.
“On the flight itself at T+60 seconds we will break the sound barrier then once an altitude of 60Km is reached, parabolic flight begins during which we experience a period of weightlessness. Then on the way down we experience strong G Force as we rapidly pick up speed and recross the earth atmosphere. The Lynx flight ends with us gliding back to earth and landing at the space port,” he added.
After the second stage of the competition is complete, the final flight may take place as soon as 2014 though those dates have not been officially announced yet.
“Once I make it to Orlando, I believe that my extensive expedition experience will allow me to cope well with the mental and physical challenges they will put us through and the rigors of outer space, which means a higher chance of selection,” said Samra.
While this might seem like one man’s mission to add a list of firsts to his legacy, Samra considers himself to be a role model for other Egyptians at a time when the country is experiencing such turmoil.
“I will do my utmost through social media and every tool at my disposal to make sure that everyone supporting me will get a chance to follow the journey every step of the way,” he said.
“With the unfortunate news coming out of Egypt at the moment,” he aded, “I believe that this undertaking will help boost our morale and set an example of what Egypt and Egyptians are capable of.”
Samra’s training is well underway. Now he just needs some votes. Visit the LYNX Space Academy page if you want to help send this inspiring man to space.