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Prayer has been a part of space flight since the very first, reports CNN blogger Thom Patterson.

He cites a number of stories of prayers in space — but does not mention the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, who friends have reported was humiliated by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s claim that Gagarin had looked around in space and saw no god. There is no record of Gagarin ever uttering the words or confirming the claim. 

CLICK HERE to read more about Yuri Gagarin’s faith

Patterson also tells of Apollo 11 Col. Buzz Aldrin, saying Aldrin was the only person ever to receive communion on the moon. A Presbyterian, Aldrin administered the sacrament himself while inside the lunar landing vehicle. Shortly afterward, Aldrin became the second human to set foot on the moon.

According to Christian author Charles Colson, fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong also participated in that lunar communion service.

CLICK HERE to read more about Neil Armstrong’s faith

Patterson then relates a rather irreverent prayer supposedly uttered by America’s first astronaut, Alan B. Shepherd, which Shepherd has denied.

And Patterson relates other Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers uttered in space:

February 1962: “Godspeed, John Glenn,” says fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter as Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth.

April 1970: President Nixon leads nation in prayer for the safe return of Apollo 13 crew members after their spacecraft is damaged en route to the moon.

February 2003: Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed with six others aboard the shuttle Columbia, brought with him a tiny microfiche Bible given to him by Israel’s president, according to the New York Times. He also copied the traditional Jewish blessing Shabbat Kiddush into his diary so he could recite it aboard the spacecraft and have the blessing broadcast to Earth, according to the Jerusalem Post.

August 2005: While in orbit, shuttle Discovery‘s Eileen Collins – commanding the first mission after 2003’s Columbia disaster – says a prayer in honor of Columbia‘s seven crewmembers killed during reentry. The prayer is adapted from a poem “For the Fallen,” by Laurence Binyon.

October 2007: Malaysian cosmonaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor – a practicing Muslim – prays regularly during his eleven-day stay aboard the International Space Station. Because the orbiting outpost goes through several “sunrises” daily, Islamic scholars must determine special rules regarding how to face Mecca and how many times to pray each day.

March 2011: Discovery pilot Col. Eric Boe leads astronauts in prayer before lifting off on Discovery‘s final mission. Boe told spacelaunch.com: “We had a huddle as a team, we just said a quick prayer and just said looking forward to mission and let us do well. It was a good way to get ready for the mission and to give us some focus before we get on the rocket to go.”

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