Sheikh Muszaphar is an orthopedic surgeon, and a university lecturer in medicine at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. In 1998, Sheikh Muszaphar worked at Hospital Seremban, followed by a move to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital in 1999, and was on staff at Hospital Selayang from 2000 through 2001. Sheikh Muszaphar is also a part-time model.
Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is the first Malaysian cosmonaut to go into space. He was launched to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz TMA-11 with the Expedition 16 crew on October 10, 2007.Sheikh Muszaphar was flying under an agreement with Russia through the Angkasawan program.
Space experiments Sheikh Muszaphar will carry out experiments on board the International Space Station relating to the characteristics and growth of liver cancer and leukemia cells, the crystallisation of various proteins and microbes in space.
The experiments relating to liver cancer, leukemia cells and microbes will benefit general science and medical research, while the experiments relating to the crystallisation of proteins, lipases in this case, will directly benefit local industries.
Lipase are a type of protein enzymes used in the manufacturing of diverse range of products from textiles to cosmetics, and the opportunity to grow these in space will mean a possibility for Malaysian scientists to take a crack at an industry worth some USD$2.2bil (RM7.7bil) worldwide by producing these locally.
Spaceflight and religion Since Sheikh Muszaphar is a Muslim, and as his time in space will coincide with the last part of Ramadan, the Islamic National Fatwa Council drew up the first comprehensive guidebook for Muslims in space. The 18-page guidebook is titled "Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites (Ibadah) at the International Space Station", and details issues such as how to pray in a low-gravity environment, how to locate Mecca from the ISS, how to determine prayer times, and issues surrounding fasting. The orbit of the ISS results in one day/night cycle every 90 minutes,so the issues of fasting during Ramadan are also addressed. The guidebook will be translated into Russian, Arabic, and English.Anan C. Mohd, from Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development said that fasting while traveling is optional, so Sheikh Muszaphar could choose what he would like to do, but if he did decide to fast in space, the times would be centered around local time in Baikonur, where the launch takes place.Sheikh Muszaphar will celebrate Eid ul-Fitr aboard the station, and packed some satay and cookies to hand out to the rest of the crew on Saturday, October 13, to mark the end of Ramadan.