Muslim in space vows to keep rituals
A Malaysian surgeon aboard a Russian spacecraft became the first Muslim to reach space during the holy month of Ramadan, vowing to adhere to Islamic rituals even while hurtling around Earth at 17,000 mph.
Sheik Muszaphar Shukor, along with one astronaut each from Russia and the U.S., lifted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, en route to the International Space Station, where he will spend about 10 days. The American, Peggy Whitson, will be the first woman to command the station.
If Shukor follows guidelines established for the mission by Muslim scholars, he can forgo fasting and make up for it when he returns to Earth. And facing Mecca is not to be taken literally, scholars agreed.