Praying Toward Mecca ... In Outer Space Tell Me More's series "Flying High: The First In Their Class" reflects on some of the famous firsts that the space shuttle program produced. In this second installment, host Michel Martin speaks with Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the first Arab, the first Muslim and the first member of royalty to go to space.
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Praying Toward Mecca ... In Outer Space

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Praying Toward Mecca ... In Outer Space

Praying Toward Mecca ... In Outer Space

Praying Toward Mecca ... In Outer Space

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/137790385/137790378" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Saudi Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (left) with shuttle pilot John O. Creighton in 1985 before his historic mission. Phil Sandlin/AP hide caption

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Phil Sandlin/AP

Saudi Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (left) with shuttle pilot John O. Creighton in 1985 before his historic mission.

Phil Sandlin/AP

Host Michel Martin speaks with Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the second part of Tell Me More's series "Flying High: First In Their Class." As NASA enjoys the final mission of its space program, Tell Me More has been speaking with astronauts and other pioneers of space exploration who have broken new ground.

Prince Sultan's historic space flight on the Discovery shuttle in 1985 marked many firsts for the shuttle program. The Saudi prince was the first Arab, Muslim, and member of royalty to travel into space. The mission was also unique because its crew came from three different countries on three different continents. They faced the challenge of carrying out cultural norms while in outer space. But Prince Sultan found a way to do everything, including fasting during Ramadan and praying three times a day. (Travelers often pray three times a day using a condensed version of the usual five sets of prayers.) He is now the President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.