The International Space Station (ISS) will be offering halal food to first Emirati astronaut, Hazza Al Mansoori, who will be onboard on September 25, Sputnik reported on July 7.
“Halal dishes enough for the eight-day trip are expected to be ready by mid-August. These canned meals will include balaleet, sweet vermicelli, saluna — sweet and sour fish — and madrouba,” informed the Russian firm, ‘Space Food Laboratory’, which specializes in producing astronaut food.
The Muslim astronaut and his two other colleagues of the ‘ISS Expedition 61’ would be engaged in conducting Earth observation, imaging experiences, communicating with ground stations, sharing information and documenting biological data related to the daily lives of astronauts at the ISS.
Al Mansoori will be the 6th Muslim astronaut to visit the ISS and the 11th Muslim to be in space generally. The former UAE military pilot will also give an introductory tour of the ISS in Arabic.
The 31-year-old man will launch onboard Soyuz MS-15 mission where he’ll be accompanied with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and American astronaut Jessica Meir.
The mission will launch from the world’s first and largest spaceport, Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in the Muslim country Kazakhstan.
Beside Al Mansoori, another Muslim on the mission is Sultan Niyadi, a telecommunication engineer at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), who is one of the three individuals of Soyuz MS-15’s backup crew.
Muslim Presence in Space
There have been several efforts by the space agencies of the Muslim countries to address the issues of religious rituals of Muslim astronauts in space.
For instance, the Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA) sponsored a conference of 150 scientists and Islamic religious scholars to address the issue of how the Qiblah should be determined when one is in orbit.
The conference, which was held in April 2006, concluded that the astronaut should determine the location of the Qiblah “according to [their] capability”.
In parallel with the conference’s outcomes, a document was produced in early 2007 titled: ‘A Guideline of Performing Ibadah at the ISS’ was approved by Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council.
The document focused on detailed aspects about praying, fasting and ablution beside other Islamic rituals that Muslims astronauts are required to do in space on a daily basis.
The ISS is the 9th space station working as a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. It’s a joint project between NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, Japan’s JAXA, and CSA of Canada; where the ownership and use of it are established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
The station serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
The 21-year-old station is also suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.