[FPSPACE] Praying 80 times in 24 hours while on board ISS?

pjp pjp961 at svol.net
Mon Oct 8 15:12:41 EDT 2007

>From Agency France Presse:




Russia readies rocket for Malaysian's space launch


Russian engineers put the final touches on Sunday to a Soyuz spacecraft in
which Malaysia's soon-to-be first astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will fly
to the International Space Station.

"I'm absolutely confident about this launch. We've got a good team here, no
novices," said Nikolai Zaglada, head of the assembly team putting together
the Soyuz's sections at Baikonur cosmodrome.

Muszaphar, a doctor and part-time model, is to blast off on Wednesday with
Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and American Peggy Whitson.

He will spend about nine days on the ISS before returning to Earth with its
current crew.

The Soyuz, a trusted workhorse that has had about 1,800 launches in various
adaptations, is manufactured in Russia and transported in sections by rail
to Baikonur, a vast site on the arid plains of Kazakhstan.

Engineers on Sunday joined together the sections of the spacecraft, which is
adorned with a Malaysian flag and coat of arms, and applied a final lick of
paint before it is taken by rail to the launch pad.

Muszaphar has attracted interest with a promise that if possible he will
observe in space the fasting regime of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Malaysian religious authorities have prepared guidelines on how to adapt the
rules to life on the ISS, which circles the Earth 16 times a day,
theoretically requiring a Muslim to pray 80 times a day.

Although the whole spacecraft is 50 metres (160 feet) tall on the launch
pad, its three passengers will find it cramped inside their capsule, which
sheds various sections as it ascends and where they will spend over 24 hours
before reaching the ISS.

They will have lounge seats that have been individually fitted to their
bodies and will wear space suits designed to remove waste products in the
early part of the voyage, when they must stay strapped in place.

Russia is currently marking 50 years of space exploration, having celebrated
on October 4 the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first ever satellite,

Malaysia has paid for Muszaphar's voyage as part of a billion-dollar
purchase of Russian fighter jets.


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