Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Lift off, we have lift off...!"

Right after solat tarawih at the surau we rushed home to switch on the television and catch Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Malaysia's first astronaut, hurtling towards outer space.

Of course by then we had missed the countdown. But it was an exciting and proud moment nevertheless.

A quick check on the internet, and below is how the BBC News reported the event at 13:48 GMT (9.48pm Malayisan time), i.e. exactly 16 minutes after lift off.

Soyuz rocket sends crew to space

A Russian spacecraft heading to the International Space Station (ISS) has blasted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz rocket propelled Malaysia's first astronaut into space alongside the first female astronaut to become commander of the space station.

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and American Peggy Whitson were accompanied by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. Ms Whitson and Mr Malenchenko will remain on the ISS for six months, replacing two other astronauts.

Mr Shukor will spend nine days on the space station before returning to Earth with the outgoing crew.

The launch has been eagerly anticipated in Malaysia, where it has been hailed as a landmark for the Asian nation.

The Soyuz-FG rocket lifted off on schedule at 1752 Moscow time (1322 GMT), topped with a spacecraft containing the three crew members.
The crew are expected to dock at the space station on Friday.

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