The Central Asian space agency known to the English-speaking world as SpaceOrg announced its intention to put its first man in space on January 7th.  The collaborative venture between Turkestan,  Persia, the Moghul National Realm and the Russian Republic of Qazaqstan is possibly the newest space agency, and launched its first satellite at the beginning of the year.
The planned man-in-space mission announcement, including a press conference introducing the "first choice" Ğarçığar (cosmonaut) Talğat Sopu Bek-ulı, became mired in controversy by a joke attempted by Talğat Ğarçığar.
Talğat Ğarçığar tried to joke that the Mıtra space rocket would lift with it the soul of the late Pope in the Qavoşğar ("Explorer") capsule, "carrying him to Heaven", as he put it.  It did not go down as well as he intended.
Talğat Sopu Bek-ulı is well-known in the Turkestani pilot community as a joker, but his personal skill and the prestige of his family made him seem like a natural choice for the SpaceOrg's first cosmonaut.  The tastelessness of this particular joke may have cost him his historic space flight.

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