Rakesh Sharma to attend Malaysian astronaut’s wedding

July 28th, 2010 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 28 (IANS) India’s Rakesh Sharma will be among the 100 astronauts converging here to attend the wedding of Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.
Shukor’s wedding with Halina Mohammed Yunos is slated for Oct 10, which will be the last day of the Association of Space Explorers’ 23rd Planetary Congress.

Besides Sharma, who undertook a space mission in 1984, first Muslim astronaut Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia and the first Chinese Taikonaut Yang Li Wei are expected at the gala reception.

“I hope it will be a memorable moment for everyone to share a truly Malaysian experience packed with local customs and fine local cuisine,” Shukor said of his wedding plans.

The theme of the wedding will be a “Malay warrior in the celestial palace”, The Star newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Malaysian space programme, called Angkasawan, the Malay word for astronaut, began with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad signing a deal with the Russian Federation for the supply of Sukhoi aircraft for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

Indian Air Force pilots are engaged in training and the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) technicians in maintaining these aircraft now in operation with the RMAF.

Sending a Malaysian astronaut into space was part of the Sukhoi deal.

The Malaysian authorities began the selection process for astronauts and among the four short-listed was Siva Vanajah, an ethnic Indian woman engineer.

Shukor was finally selected and the 10 day space mission, Soyuz TMM 10, ended Oct 10, 2007.

Shukor said he had selected Oct 10 for his wedding to commemorate the space mission.

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