Sometime in 2007, Malaysia is to send an astronaut into space to spend 8 days on the ISS, via the Soyuz spacecraft. Out of the 4 potential candidates, 3 are Muslims. The question of prayer was one that the Malaysian Space Agency has to answer.
According to Zainol Abidin Abdul Rashid of Malaysia’s space science institute, “following Earth time and facing in the direction of Earth are the key elements to solving the problem”.
Accordingly, Zainol’s got his head down with his graduate students from the National University of Malaysia to write a programme to “calculate the correct prayer times and directions for astronauts, once their positions are keyed in”.