Last check on the NASA official website, around 13:30hr today, our Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was still classified as “Malaysian spaceflight participant“.

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Notice the emblem on the attire? Our Sheikh has a different designation from the rest

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The Sheikh aside, full-function members aboard Expedition 16 were Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko. The duo formed the 16th International Space Station crew launched in their Soyuz TMA-11 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:22 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

While US astronaut Whitson and Russion cosmonaut Malenchenko will remain on the Space Station for six months, our Sheikh Muszaphar was launched with Expedition 16 and will land with Expedition 15.

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SOURCE: NASA official website — International Space Station Expedition16

We have seen far too many fake datuks and fake Ph.Ds in the fast, haven’t we?

The National PR Agency, failing which JJ’s spin-doctors, must get public perception right before Sheikh Muszaphar returns, or he will be made the national butt of jokes in time to come. So save him (and us) the agony, please.

Sheikh should rightfully hold the record as the first Malaysian in space in a non-astronaut capacity. That’s calling a spade a spade.

Sheikh should also rightly be recognised as the first Muslim in the world to have travelled into space during Ramadan. How does a Muslim in space face Mecca? Christian Science Monitor has the story.

Al-Jazeera said, as a Muslim, Sheikh Muszaphar will face some unusual problems observing religious rituals during the holy month of Ramadan.

At the speed the space station travels, orbiting the Earth 16 times every 24 hours, Sheikh Muszaphar would have been obliged to pray more than 80 times a day.