Thursday, October 11, 2007

Malaysia's first astronaut

Source from:

Wednesday, 10 October 2007, Malaysia astronaut set to launch

Malaysia's first astronaut is set to blast off for a voyage to the International Space Station (ISS).

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will lift off from the Baikonur site cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, together with one Russian and one US astronaut.

The funny things to discuss:

1. As a muslim, he needs to fast after the run rises till the sun set during Ramadan.
2. And he has to kneel down to pray for 5 times a day by facing to Mecca.

As a matter of fact, the spaceship is turning 16 times over the earth in a day.

1. There will be 16 times of sun set and he can have 16 meals per day, so there is no problem for him to fast. :P
2. Can he kneel down and find his direction to face to Mecca in 0 gravity? maybe it's not an obligation. But 5 times a day praying will become 80 times!!!~~~hahahaha

more information on Wikipedia :

Since Sheikh Muszaphar is a Muslim, and as his time in space will coincide with the last part of Ramadan, the Islamic National Fatwa Council drew up the first comprehensive guidebook for Muslims in space.[1][3] The 18-page guidebook is titled "Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites (Ibadah) at the International Space Station", and details issues such as how to pray in a low-gravity environment, how to locate Mecca from the ISS, how to determine prayer times, and issues surrounding fasting. The orbit of the ISS results in one day/night cycle every 90 minutes,[1][22] so the issues of fasting during Ramadan are also addressed. The guidebook will be translated into Russian, Arabic, and English.[7][23] Ramadan began on September 13, 2007, and continues through about October 13, 2007, meaning Sheikh Muszaphar will spend the last four days of Ramadan in space.[24] Anan C. Mohd, from Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development said that fasting while traveling is optional, so Sheikh Muszaphar could choose what he would like to do, but if he did decide to fast in space, the times would be centered around local time in Baikonur, where the launch takes place.[25][26] Sheikh Muszaphar will celebrate Eid ul-Fitr aboard the station, and packed some satay and cookies to hand out to the rest of the crew on Saturday, October 13, to mark the end of Ramadan.[27]

About the Malaysia Space Program :

This program was officially announced by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as a joint programme with the Russian Federation. It is a project under the government-to-government offset agreement through the purchase of Sukhoi SU-30MKM fighter jets for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Under this agreement the Russian Federation will bear the cost of training of two Malaysians and to send one to the International Space Station (ISS) in October 2007.

The Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA), Ministry of Science, Technologies and Innovations was given the responsibility of commissioning the process of selecting the participants. Two of the four selected participants were sent to the Astronaut Training Programme in Star City, Russia for 18 months of training.

Planned Agenda

Scientific program of the Malaysian astronaut
1Cells in SpaceCISStudy of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on eukaryotic cells focusing on changes in the structure and function at the cellular and molecular levels
2Microbes in SpaceMISStudy of the effects of microgravity on motility of bacteria, drug resistances as well as changes in gene expression (using the microarray approach). Expect to show some effects of bacterial growth using a pre-determined minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC).
3Protein Crystallisation in SpacePCSThe purpose of this experiment is to compare the crystal growth of lipases on Earth with that grown in microgravity. Several test conditions will also be tested to improve the protein crystallisation process on Earth as well as in space.
4Malaysian Food in SpaceFISIncrease the variety and quality of food available to space travelers by identifying new food items (specifically typical Malaysian dishes) that are appropriate for consumption during space flight.
5Study of spinning motions in microgravity environmentTOPA physics demonstration to show the effect of microgravity on the motions of spinning object using a top.
6PR and SymbolicsPASPR and Symbolics activities.

On November 15, 2006, in a response to a question in the Dewan Rakyat, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim (representing the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry) stated that the Malaysian astronaut would, "spin top and toss Batu Seremban (five-stone game) as part of an experiment during his space travel". She added, "The astronaut will also paint a batik motif and make "teh tarik" ("pulled" tea) which would be shared with his fellow astronauts."[4].

However, on December 18, 2006, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said that making teh-tarik in space would not happen. Various experiments drawn up by selected Malaysian institutes would be carried out by the Malaysian astronaut while in zero-gravity. In the planned physics education (live class in space) portion of the spaceflight, the astronaut will also be, "demonstrating the behavior of fluids" and "observing the effects of a spinning object", to show Malaysian students on the ground the effects of zero-gravity on selected physical phenomena.[5]


The cost of sending a single Malaysian into space has been estimated at RM $95 million (approximately USD $26 million). The entire Malaysian space program has been severely criticized as a severe waste of money for a developing nation that could ill afford such indulgences by an Australian commentator who suggested that Malaysia would basically be using foreign space programs as a "taxi service" to transport its angkasawan, gaining nothing of merit.

Official Program Website here

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