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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 10:05 GMT
Malaysians plan Asian space food
By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian food stall - archive
Malaysian astronauts should be able to eat their favourite foods
Malaysian scientists have already conquered most of the technical hurdles involved in sending someone into space. But one major obstacle still needs to be overcome.

No self-respecting Malaysian is likely to leave the planet to spend a week on the international space station without a good meal when he gets there.

So now Malaysia's National Space Agency has announced a programme that will make sure its astronauts can enjoy their favourite food while in orbit.

The joint US-Malaysian research project is designed to decide how best to handle traditional South East Asian delicacies in zero gravity.

The programme is called roti canai in space - named after the flaky griddle-cooked pancake that Malaysians love to eat for breakfast.

Scientists will be sent to America, and put to work researching the best way of delivering roti canai and other dishes like coconut rice, fried noodles and of course teh tarik, literally "pulled tea", to its intrepid explorers.

However, they may have to remind their spacemen that though they weigh nothing while in zero gravity, they may end up weighing rather more when they return to earth, if they eat too much.

Meanwhile religious scholars will be asked to tackle other problems, such as finding ways to help Muslim astronauts face Mecca as they pray while in orbit.

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