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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 26, 2005 20:56:55 GMT -6
Placing a book in orbit, Turkmenistan aims for the stars
The ex-Soviet Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan claimed to have joined the ranks of the world's space powers by sending a container into Earth's orbit carrying a spiritual guide written by the country's idiosyncratic leader, newspapers reported Friday.
"The book that conquered the hearts of millions on Earth is now conquering space," said the official daily Neitralnyi Turkmenistan.
"The sacred text of Rukhnama was chosen because it contains all the wisdom of the Turkmen people, thanks to its creator, Turkmenbashi," the article said, using the name the country's president, Saparmurat Niyazov, has given himself, meaning "Guide of All Turkmens".
The container was launched on Wednesday aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket that blasted off from the Russian launch facility at Baikonur in Kazakhstan on a mission to place two Japanese research satellites into orbit.