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- '08 Visits (Local)
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- By Dr Sheikh
- Challenges/Hurdles
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- In Memoriam
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- P1 - Pre-Launch
- P2 - Launch
- P3 - Dock
- P4 - On ISS
- P5 - Undock/Return
- P6 - A New Start
- Prog's Champions
- Rehab. Updates
- Selection Process
- The 2nd Angkasawan
- The Experience
- The Experiments
- The ISS
- The Prog. - Future
- The Prog. - General
- Training Updates
- Var. Formal Appear'ce
- Well-wishes

A Compilation of News, Updates & Press Releases

DISCLAIMER: This is an independent non-profit website. This website neither advertises nor is promoted by any of the media sites mentioned herein. Views expressed in the individual articles are those of their respective writers/journalists/media sites and not of the owner of this website, unless otherwise stated. This collection serves as a repository for future reference only. All articles and images remain the property of their original sources.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, director-general of National Space Agency, says experiments and research can still continue.

FIVE years ago, Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman left her job in Vienna as United Nations director of outer space affairs to set up the National Space Agency here. On Wednesday, she watched with pride as the country’s first angkasawan lifted off. MINDERJEET KAUR finds out if the space programme under the agency and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry is viable for the future.

Q: Some politicians have asked if the next step should be to send a Malaysian to the moon? Is it possible for us to go to the moon?

A: We should take small steps. If you are talking about having our own technology to send someone to space and into orbit, that requires a lot of commitment such as financial input and human capital.

There are only three countries in the world - the United States, Russia and China - that have the capability to send humans into space. And the amount of money they have put in is a lot.

Each of these countries has thousands of people working on their space programme. The US spent about US$16 billion (RM56 billion) on its Nasa programme.

We cannot be comparing with them. So when we talk about building a rocket and sending a man into space it might eventually be a reality but not now. We haven't even built our own aeroplanes. Which is why we need to take small steps.

But it does not mean that just because we have not built rockets, we shouldn't send a man to space or launch a satellite. What we can do is to save money by using someone's rocket. There are different ways of doing things.

Q: What sort of steps should we take before building our own rockets and spacecraft?

A: We start small by having more engineers trained for rocket engineering, aeronautic engineering, space engineering and scientists to look at innovative fuels, among other things.

Q: Are we ready to send another astronaut to the International Space Station next year?

A: To be able to send somebody next year will be good. However, even if we do not send someone for the next few years, our experiments and research can still continue as we will be working with the US, European and Japanese Space Agency.

Q: How long will it take for our space programme to be successful?

A: It depends on how much money is put into it. If we spend money like China, then we can build rockets and go to space very fast. India will also be sending a man to space soon.

Q: How long will it take for Malaysia to develop the human capital?

A: When we talk about technology transfer, we should also talk about our readiness to receive the technology transfer.

Sometimes, we think we pay money to another company and we can do it. It doesn't mean we are ready. There are so many levels of readiness. It takes time.

Throwing in money to get something is one way. But by taking shortcuts, we lose out on certain levels because we do not go deep into it. The government should build a programme, then build the human capital around it.

Q: What should be done so that the younger generation would be able to build rockets and come up with world-class experiments?

A: We need a good education system. I have always advocated that it should start from the primary level. People should be able to see jobs in the space industry as a career. But if the country only needs five space engineers, then no one is going to see it as a career. It is up to the government.

Q: Other than going for road shows and giving talks, what other long-term plans are there for Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor when he returns?

A: The programme should have a long-term impact. That is the development that we want to see. This is why when we embarked on the programme, we were very clear that we were going to do this together with other scientists worldwide. For instance, a lot of equipment that Dr Muszaphar will be using in space was obtained from the United States. We will also carry our experiments for motion sickness and lower back pain for the European Space Agency. For the Japanese Space Agency, our study revolves around the development of a radiation patch. We chose those partners because they have strong space programmes. The Japanese are going to launch their own module for scientific experiments. They will be looking for international partners. By doing something for the Japanese now, they will include Malaysians in the future to do more research.

Q: How can those in remote or rural areas relate to the space programme?

A: Even those who do not care about space still care about the country. By putting a man in space, it puts the country in the league of nations of the highest ranking. People may say that we should not be proud as we have not built a rocket. But in order to have a man in space, it means that we have certain capabilities. For instance, the Russians look at us as a viable partner. It means that we have reached a certain level. We have received international recognition.

Q: How did the Angkasawan project start? When did it start and who got the ball rolling?

A: It was in 2002 when the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad called me back from Vienna to set up the space agency and asked me what my plans were for Malaysia. At that time, I was curious to know whether we should have an astronaut programme. The reason was because whenever I spoke to the press, they would always ask me why we did not have an astronaut programme since we have a space agency. Most of them equate a space agency to Nasa. But I wasn't too keen on having an astronaut programme because it would cost money and it should not be a top priority as we had other programmes as well. I asked Tun why we needed to have a space programme and he told me that every now and then, a country needed to have a programme which would unite the people. And he thought the space programme would be able to do that. On top of that, it would inspire the young people and would drive the progress of science.

Q: What happened next?

A: We went to the next level on how we would fund the programme and if we could get the right candidate. We were not sure how many would apply. Tun had told me that he had thought of the programme in 1985 but he said we were not ready then but by 2002, we knew we were ready. We had a solid space programme already. We had launched two satellites, the Measat I and Measat II, and we had already launched our remote sensing satellite, Tiongsat, in 2000 and ended its life in 2004. We had aerospace engineering programmes. We had the Planetarium and Remote Sensing Centre receiving images. We had enough space-related activities as compared to 1985 when we had nothing. Tun also asked me how many would apply and I told him that maybe about a thousand people would apply. But then about 10,000 people applied. I was wrong, I didn't think it would inspire so many Malaysians.

Q: How did the offset agreement between Malaysia and Russia for the government's purchase of 18 Russian-produced Sukhoi-30MKM jetfighters come about?

A: There were a lot of things happening at the same time. I also got to know from the Defence Ministry that they were looking for an offset programme with Russia. We thought the programme which would cost US$20 million to send our man to space was very high. So we looked at ways on how we could cut cost. We were very careful not to spend too much because we were not sure of the public's support for the programme. I looked at the offset programme and I thought to myself, this is it. We could do the training programme without spending tax payers' money. I met Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was also the Minister of Defence at the time, and asked him if he would support the Angkasawan programme as one of the offset programmes. He said yes almost immediately and said he would bring it up with the Russians. And that was how the programme started. And when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over in 2004, he was very supportive of the programme. His support is obvious. He is always available when it comes to the Angkasawan programme or any announcement or when the candidates want to meet him or the Russians want to talk to him.

Q: Why was the National Space Agency set up?

A: It was initially set up to coordinate several ministries which were interested in space and communications. It was also set up to plan space regulations, space programmes and space policies.

Q: How many staff were employed at the agency?

A: There were 14 of us. In the first year, there was me, my secretary and driver. We were working with a skeleton staff. But I was fortunate that I had the support of the Planetarium staff. In the first year, I was struggling to come up with a programme to develop our own technology such as satellites, spacecraft and rockets. We needed human capital and facilities. In the last five years, we set up the National Space Centre in Banting to allow Malaysians to build their own satelites. We talked about Measat, Tiongsat and Razaks but these were built overseas. The government has to start a mechanism or create an environment where our engineers and scientists can build our own satellites.

Q: What was the screening process like?

A: With the 10,000 potential candidates, we got them to re-apply and when they did that, the number did not drop. So, the first thing we did was to eliminate those under the age of 21, maybe about 800 of them. We also wanted someone with a university degree, except if they were professional pilots. Because pilots are the best candidates for this. And I thought, if worst comes to worst, we will send a pilot. The number dropped drastically. This was the passive process.

The next step was to get them to run 3.5 km in 20 minutes. But only about 500 were brave enough to go through this. Out of that about half qualified. They also had to undergo a pilot's medical checkup to check their eyesight and hearing. At this point, only 100 qualified. The medical examination became harder from then on. They also had to undergo dental check-ups. Those who had too many fillings were disqualified because when there are too much fillings, it could jeopardise the training. Those who had major fractures were also dropped. From here on, we had other tests including oxygen testing and defying zero gravity.

Q: Are you happy with the candidate chosen to represent Malaysia?

A: We had 10,000 Malaysians who applied and went through nine screening tests.


Source: The New Straits Times Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Other Reports

SINGAPORE: The historic blast-off of Malaysia's first astronaut into space yesterday not only made the headlines in the Malaysian media, but also attracted coverage here.

Besides the dailies, the event also made the news on television and radio.

On page 3 of The Straits Times was a picture of the rocket blasting off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome.

Under the picture was a report headlined "Blast Off: Malaysians cheer as astronaut Muszaphar flies to space station".

It reported on Malaysians, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, watching the live telecast of the event.

"Excited Malaysians also watched at other locations in the (Malaysian) capital, where huge plasma screens were put up to show the live telecast of the blast-off," said the report.

The Business Times carried a Reuters picture of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor in his space suit onboard the spacecraft, with a caption "Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia can) in Space".

The only Malay newspaper in Singapore, Berita Harian, carried the story on Page 5 with the title "Angkasawan pertama Malaysia berlepas" (Malaysia's first astronaut blasts off).

Channel News Asia (CNA) carried a detailed report on the event.

CNA also reported on Dr Muszaphar's mission in space, including conducting experiments on tropical disease microbes and proteins for a potential HIV vaccine.

"He will also study the effects of micro-gravity and space radiation on cancer cells and human genes," it said.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian newspapers, with the exception of a few, played down the story.

Only three newspapers carried the news about the Malaysian in space.

The mainstream Kompas carried the news merely as a filler on page nine.

Media Indonesia carried the story under the heading "First Malaysian lifts-off to the Moon" by mentioning the astronaut as the first Asian and a first for Muslims in Asia to do so.

An English daily, The Jakarta Post put out the story as the third lead in its World News section with a picture of Dr Muszaphar smiling and pointing his finger to the miniature national flag on the left sleeve of his space costume.

The story under the heading "First Malaysian enters space" which was lifted from Reuters mentioned Dr Muszaphar as the first Muslim to fly into space during the holy month of Ramadan



Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying the hopes and dreams of Malaysians is moving steadily towards the International Space Station.
And Malaysia's first astronaut, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, is well on his way to create history.

He has settled in very well and the three-member crew of the Soyuz is set to dock at the ISS tonight.

While on the ISS, Dr Muszaphar will conduct several experiments, including on motion sickness and lower back pain.

The others on the flight are flight commander American Peggy Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malechenko.

Astronautic Technology Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad said the crew was in contact with Mission Control Centre in Moscow.

"The spacecraft is able to communicate with Mission Control Centre each time it orbits above Moscow," he said in Baikonur yesterday. "This occurs every 90 minutes."

Sabirin said it was normal for the spacecraft to take several attempts to dock successfully as the crew would have to manoeuvre the Soyuz until it joined perfectly with the ISS.

Malaysians watched with pride on Wednesday night as the Soyuz lifted off at 9.21pm.

The ascending spacecraft took just minutes to reach its initial orbit.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the start of modern space travel, which dates from the Soviet Union's launch of the first satellite, Sputnik 1, from Baikonur on Oct 4, 1957.

Source: The New Straits Times Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Other Reports

KOTA KINABALU: Bumiputeras in Sabah have been told to reach for the stars if they wish to excel in life.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said they should aim high like astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, the first Malaysian in space now heading for the International Space Station.

He said Dr Muszaphar's discipline, dedication and attitude should serve as a lesson for bumiputeras in Sabah that if they strive for excellence, they will attain it.

He said unfortunately most bumiputera harbour a "tidak apa" (couldn't care less) attitude, the consequence of which is failure to succeed.

"We must let go of this attitude and strive to be the best in whatever endeavour we choose to take up. Only then can we become first class citizens at par with other races in the community and in the country," he said during the 5th Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) graduation ceremony on Thursday.

Masidi, who is also minister-in-charge of education matters in the State, said bumiputeras must also place emphasis on achieving in terms of education and in commerce.

"Education and commerce are two main aspects that signify the excellence of a race," he said. He cited the Jewish community as one the showcases of excellence in the world. "Despite their small numbers in America, no one doubt that they control the American economy."

He stressed that the bumiputeras should emulate the Jews and strive to be proficient academically and in commerce.

"If they are proficient in both, even if the bumiputeras are outnumbered by other races, they will still excel in the modern world," he said.

He also urged youths in the State to emulate other successful races in the State, such as the Chinese community. "The difference between our community and the Chinese is that they mould their children to become financially independent.

"They don't study so that they will one day work for others. Instead, they study so that one day they can work for themselves and be financially independent," he said.

A total of 128 Form Three and 141 Form Five students received their graduation certificates at the ceremony.

Also present were Sabah Federal Secretary, Dato Ismail Wadin and MRSM Principal, Hj Ibrahim Othman.


Source: The Daily Express Internet Edition

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

The joint International Space Station crew waves to viewers on Earth after the Oct. 12, 2007 docking of the new Expedition 16 astronauts. They are: (Top row, from left) Expedition 15 flight engineer Oleg Kotov, commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, flight engineer Clayton Anderson. (Bottom row, from left) Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Expedition 16 flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko and commander Peggy Whitson. - Credit: NASA TV

For Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station, and Yuri Malenchenko, her Expedition 16 crewmate, today's arrival at the orbiting outpost was something of a homecoming.

Both space explorers had previously lived aboard the ISS during earlier flights: Whitson for 184 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes in 2002 and Malenchenko for just 31 minutes longer a year later.

ISS crew mates Yuri Malenchenko and Peggy Whitson show off their mementos.
- PHOTOS:, Associated Press

"When you are so familiar with the layout of the station, you know what is kept where and so it feels like you are at home when everything around you is so familiar," said flight engineer Malenchenko in a preflight interview with

The crew arrived at the station at 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT) Friday. Whitson will officially become the ISS commander - the station's first female leader - after a ceremony next Friday. They will spend the week learning about the station's systems from the outgoing Expedition 15 crew members.

To make the ISS feel even more like home for the next six months they are on-board, the American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut opted to bring items with them to adorn their living space. Unlike their prior stays though, their chosen personal decorations tend to be more virtual.

"I am doing a lot more electronically this time. It's just easier, less of a hassle. I can print whatever I want when I get up there, and not have to worry about hand-carrying so much. So that alone simplifies the personal items I was planning to take, in terms of like photos," explained Whitson. "That to me, is simpler."

One tangible, if initially unplanned item among Whitson's personal items was presented to her just a day before her and her crew's launch on Oct. 10. In reverence to her role as the first woman to command the station, she was gifted with a "kamcha", a Kazakh riding whip, as a means of keeping her male crew members in line. Acknowledging the presentation by a member of the Russian launch crew at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Whitson said, "I hope there will be no need to use this, but I'll take it on-board just in case."

Another commemorative item common among Whitson's crew is their mission emblem for Expedition 16. Whitson and Malenchenko wore the patch on their spacesuits to orbit, and Clay Anderson, who has been on the ISS since June, adopted it as his own soon after their arrival, as the three donned caps bearing the artwork.

The Expedition 16 (middle), Soyuz TMA-11 (left) and Malaysian Angkasawan (right) insignias

The insignia's design represents the conjunction of two unique astronomical events: a transit of the ISS across the surface of a full moon and a nearly complete annular eclipse of the sun.

"My husband works [at] the Johnson Space Center and one of the guys in his laboratory, Brian Crucian was interested in doing the logo for me," shared Whitson. "He selected three or four different things and I told him I liked [it to be] simple and he came up with some different ideas. He had sent me the picture of the annular eclipse of the Moon with the station transit along it, so he had come up with the basic idea of the design, and then we expanded upon that. So he was the idea man behind it."

Malenchenko also had an emblem designed to represent their ride to orbit, Soyuz TMA-11, which he commanded and included Whitson and spaceflight participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian "angkasawan" or astronaut. The patch, which is based on a photograph of a Soyuz approaching the ISS captured by cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, was designed by space memorabilia dealer Alex Panchenko.

Shukor, a trained orthopedic surgeon who is flying as part of a commercial agreement between the Malaysian and Russian governments, chose to bring items representing his nationality and culture for his nine-day stay on the ISS.

"We are bringing some of our space food, Malaysian food actually, it's more for [our] cultural program," said Shukor to According to his mission blog, Shukor's cultural food selections include Biryani Chicken, Rendang Tok, Satay Ayam, and Kuih Raya Bangkit.

He also packed a popular children's toy, a large spinning top called a "gasing," to show to Malaysian students during a planned live downlink. "I am also hoping to wear a Batik shirt in space," Shukor wrote on his website.

Shukor, together with Expedition 15 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Oleg Kotov will return to Earth on Oct. 21. Anderson will remain on the station until later this month when the space shuttle Discovery arrives with his replacement, Dan Tani, who will then join Whitson's crew.

In addition to the small items they brought with them to the ISS, Whitson and Malenchenko will also receive care packages on visiting shuttles and unmanned Progress resupply spacecraft.

"I received a lot of neat things that people would send me on the Progress vehicles, you know, letters and cards," described Whitson of her last stay on the station, "and those are very special, even now to go back and look and see what people wrote to me when I was on orbit."

Some of the contents of those former care packages are also still on-board.

"There is some music I brought up and some movies," Malenchenko said.

"There's movies up there, some will have stayed but we try to change them out because we have limited space and so we just add new ones. So we get to pick a new set of movies that go up for us to watch in our free time. And they've gotten a lot more capability now to send up short TV shows or other things for us, which is great, so if you have a favorite series of whatever, they can get that up to you," said Whitson.


Source: News @ and (Article appeared in 2 sites)

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

Mr Shukor will spend nine days on the space station.

The first Malaysian astronaut in space has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor left Earth on a Russian Soyuz spaceship two days ago, blasting off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

He is accompanied by the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and American astronaut Peggy Whitson.

Ms Whitson will be the first female commander of the space station and she and Mr Malenchenko will remain on the ISS for six months.

Mr Shukor will spend nine days on the space station before returning to Earth with the outgoing crew.

The Soyuz rocket docked on schedule at 1850 Moscow time (1450 GMT), on automatic pilot, Russian mission control spokesman Valery Lyndin said.

"Everything is great", Mr Malenchenko told Mission Control shortly after docking.

After checking the seals between the Soyuz and the station's Zarya module, the astronauts opened the hatches and entered the station.

Malaysian pride

The event was eagerly anticipated in Malaysia, where it has been hailed as a landmark for the Asian nation.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi joined 1,000 schoolchildren at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur to mark Malaysia's entry into space.

They clapped and cheered as a giant TV screen showed scenes of Mr Shukor smiling inside the spacecraft minutes after lift-off, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Shukor, a 35-year-old doctor, is the first Muslim to fly in space during the holy month of Ramadan and will be there for the Eid festival, when he will treat his crewmates to a celebratory meal.

The agreement for a Malaysian astronaut to fly to space was negotiated in 2003 as part of a commercial deal for Malaysia to buy 18 Russian fighter jets.


Source: BBC News Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - The Prog. - Future

MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Malaysia is ready to send its second astronaut into space.

Captain Dr Faiz Khaleed will follow the footsteps of the country's first astronaut, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who boarded the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday night and will return to Earth on Oct 21.

Saying the next venture into space is subject to negotiations, Science Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis told Russian space authorities in Moscow that Malaysia is "committed to remaining a permanent member of your (space program) committee."

He said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would make an official request to the Russian government on Oct. 21 to send the second Malaysian into space earlier than 2009 in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft.

Due to the long list of people from as many countries wanting to go to space, the Malaysian request might not be accommodated soon, a Russian space official said.

Malaysia's first astronaut went into space alongside American Peggy Whitson, the first female astronaut to become commander of the ISS.

In what the US space agency Nasa called a "flawless" maneuver about 350 kilometers over Central Asia, the Soyuz TMA-11 docked on automatic pilot with the ISS at 6:52 pm Moscow time, the Straits Times (Malaysia) reported.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft - launched Wednesday at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan - also carried Russian Yuri Malenchenko.

"Everything is all right up here," said Muszaphar who will later conduct experiments on protein crystallization and microbes.

Three crew members are already onboard: Russians Feodor Yuchikin (ISS commander and engineer) and Oleg Kotov (medical doctor) and American Clay Anderson (mission specialist).

Whitson and Malechencko - who will remain on the ISS for six months - will replace Yuchikin and Kotov who will be returning with Muszaphar in nine days.

After landing in the Kazakhstan desert, the crew will be flown to Star City, Moscow, where they will be in quarantine for two weeks.


Source: All Headline News Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA: An American, a Russian and a space tourist have made it safely to the International Space Station and docked late Friday morning.

The new space station crew got a safety orientation shortly after docking from the present space station crew.

American Peggy Whitson will be the first woman commander.

Soyuz's capsule that the crew rode up in was launched from Central Asia on Wednesday.

Whitson was first on board, climbing through the hatch. She will take over command.

A space tourist from Malaysia will be accompanying two of the old crew members home in 10 days.

Before launch, Whitson talked about the risk of space flight and why she's willing to put her life on the line, for this, her second tour on the station.

"Obviously we want to do what we can to minimize the risks where we can, but we have to accept that, to go a step further, we have to take some risks," Whitson said.

The space shuttle Discovery will arrive at the ISS in two weeks if all stays on schedule, bringing up the third member of Whitson's crew.



Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Russia's Soyuz spacecraft has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. Astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 35, has made history becoming the second Asian, and first Malaysian in space.

Shukor will spend for 11 days aboard the ISS and carry out a series of scientific experiments for the European Space Agency (ESA). He will return, along with Russian ISS residents, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, who have been working aboard the station since April.

Friday's docking also brought Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson to the ISS, where they will remain in orbit for six months. The pair are scheduled to conduct three spacewalks and chart around 80 experiments in space.


Source: All Headlines News Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

Two veteran astronauts and a 35-year-old doctor from Malaysia safely arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, two days after the Russian space capsule carrying them launched from Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz spacecraft docked to the Earth-facing port of the station's Zarya module at 10:50 a.m. ET. on Friday.

Boarding the station alongside Malaysian spaceflight participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor were veteran Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko and American Peggy Whitson, who will become the first woman to act as commander of the station when she formally relieves current commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.

Shukor is the first Malaysian in space. He came aboard as a representative of his country as part of a $900-million US deal in which Malaysia agreed to purchase 18 Russian fighter jets. He will return to Earth with Yurchikhin and crew member Oleg Kotov on Oct. 21.

American Clayton Anderson will remain on board the orbiting space station with Whitson and Malenchenko.

Anderson will be replaced later this month by American Daniel Tani, who is scheduled to arrive aboard the space shuttle Discovery after it launches on Oct. 23.

The tight deadline between the departure of the Russian spacecraft and the arrival of the U.S. shuttle means Anderson and his departing crewmates will have only a few days to show the new astronauts the ropes before departing.

Traditionally, the Russian and U.S. space programs have staggered their flights throughout the year so that new arrivals could work alongside astronauts who have been living on the station for months.

But Whitson and Malenchenko are both veterans of the space station. Whitson served as a flight engineer on the station in 2002, spending almost 185 days in space, while Malenchenko has logged over 300 days in space as a crew member of both the International Space Station and Russia's Mir space station.


Source: CBC News Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

Shukor to spend nine days on the space station

The first Malaysian astronaut has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on a Russian Soyuz spaceship for a 9-day mission.

Muszaphar Shukor along with the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and American astronaut Peggy Whitson left Baikonur spaceport two days ago, reported BBC.

The three-crew rocket docked at 18:50 Moscow time (14:50 GMT), the Russian mission control spokesman Valery Lyndin said.

Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, and Malenchenko are scheduled to remain on the space station for 6 months.

The 35-year-old Shukor, a physician, is the first Muslim flying to space in the fasting month of Ramadan spending the Eid al-Fitr festival on the space.

Upon arrival at ISS, the three astronauts checked the seals between the Soyuz and the station's module, opened the hatches and stepped down onto the space


Source: Press TV Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P3 - Dock

The first female commander of the International Space Station (ISS) arrived at the orbital laboratory Friday alongside a veteran cosmonaut and Malaysia's first astronaut to complete a two-day chase aboard their Russian spacecraft.

ISS Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson, of NASA, made her space station return at about 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT) as her Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft docked at the orbital laboratory. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor accompanied Whitson to the ISS, where the outpost's current three-man crew gave them a warm welcome.

The joint International Space Station crew waves after the Oct. 12, 2007 docking of the new Expedition 16 astronauts. - PHOTO Credit: NASA TV

"The biggest gift is our friends who are here on time," said cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, the station's current Expedition 15 commander. "Everybody is smiling and happy, so the fun is only about to begin."

Malenchenko, an Expedition 16 flight engineer, commanded the Soyuz TMA-11's flight as it docked at an Earth-facing berth on the station's Russian-built Zarya control module while both spacecraft flew 220 miles (354 kilometers) above Central Asia.

"This looks just like Darth Vader's ship," said astronaut Julie Payette, serving as spacecraft communicator at NASA's ISS Mission Control in Houston, Texas, after seeing views of the space station from Soyuz cameras.

Crew change ahead

Whitson and Malenchenko, both veterans of past ISS crews, are beginning a six-month spaceflight and will replace Yurchikhin and Expedition 15 flight engineer Oleg Kotov on the space station during a nine-day crew swap. NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, currently aboard the ISS, will stay on for the first stage of the Expedition 16 mission.

Yurchikhin and Kotov are due to land Oct. 21 to complete their own six-month mission to the space station. Shukor, a trained orthopedic surgeon who is flying under a commercial agreement between the Malaysian government and Russia, will spend about nine days performing science experiments and observing the Earth before returning home with the Expedition 15 crew.

"I feel very well and I have lots of Russian and American friends up onboard with me here," said Shukor, who spoke to his father from orbit via a video link. "I love you very much and when I come back I hope to share my experiences with you and with all the Malaysian people."

Malaysia's Science, Technology and Innovations minister Jamaludin Jarjis thanked Russia's Federal Space Agency, NASA and their ISS partners during a post-docking press conference at Russia's ISS Mission Control.

Without your contributions we wouldn't be able to see one of our men in space, " Jarjis said. "We are committed to remaining a permanent member of this [space] community."

Busy six months in space

Expedition 16 marks the second flight to the ISS for Whitson and the third for Malenchenko, with Russian and NASA mission managers touting them as their most experienced ISS crew.

Both astronauts spent about 185 days aboard the ISS, Whitson as an Expedition 5 flight engineer in 2002 and Malenchenko as Expedition 7 commander in 2003. Malenchenko also visited the ISS during NASA's STS-106 shuttle flight in 2000 and is a veteran commander of Russia's Mir Space Station.

Whitson said that long-duration experience will come in handy on Expedition 16, during which her crew hopes to host up to three visiting NASA space shuttle crews, Europe's first unmanned cargo ship and two automated Russian resupply ships.

"Yuri and I will both be ready to step in very quickly," Whitson said in preflight NASA interview. "Which, I think, we’re going to need because this mission is, a very aggressive mission."

Each of the NASA shuttle missions - the first of which is set to launch Oct. 23 - will bring a new flight engineer to replace the third slot on Whitson's crew as well as a major addition to the ISS structure.

The shuttle Discovery is slated to deliver the Harmony connecting node to the ISS later this month, with the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory due at the station in December. A Canadian-built addition to the station's robotic arm and the first segment of Japan's three-part Kibo laboratory are currently scheduled to launch in February.

"We have a very exciting mission planned," Whitson said. "I'm looking forward to all the new elements that we're going to be able to add to the International Space Station.".


Source: News @

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Other Reports

KUALA LUMPUR: Wednesday provided a proud moment for all Malaysians.

Astronauts Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha and Capt Dr Faiz Khaleed proved that Ma-laysians have the mental and physical capabilities to compete with the rest of the world in international space programmes.

However, Wednesday's historic events also revealed the flip side of Malaysia: the amateurish side, with the unofficial slogan of Kira Boleh-lah.

It was an anti-climax to the constant build-up to the event. Instead of providing live coverage of our astronaut's every step into space, Channel 588 viewers were treated to unco-ordinated coverage of our leaders' every step at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

TV3 viewers got to see cross-overs to an empty Dataran Merdeka and TV1 viewers were treated to a pair of comperes chatting about a subject they knew little about.

Malaysians finally got to witness the live coverage of the historic take-off some three minutes to countdown.

The original live coverage was accompanied by a decent narrator explaining every step made by the cosmonauts. Our MC, however, had to spoil it with his own narration.

Online information was just as scarce. As of yesterday morning, the official website offered little updated information.

The whole event also revealed the trivial nature of Malaysians. We are more concerned about what Ma-laysian food our astronaut will eat in space rather than the experiments he will conduct.

And remember the big debate on whether our astronaut should try to make teh tarik in space?

One viewer's SMS wish said, and I translate: "If you meet any alien, please give our regards to it."

We are very proud of our astronauts. We are very proud that our professionals all over the globe are practising in specialised fields. However, it seems that a good part of Malaysia needs to buck up and keep pace with them


Source: The New Straits Times Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Other Reports

KOTA KINABALU: Amateur radio operators (HAM) would be able to talk to Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor with the call 9W2MUS, when he boards the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday.

Muszaphar, like all other space bound travellers, is a Licensed Amateur Radio Operator. The same goes to back-up astronaut Captain Dr Faiz Khaleed who is also a HAM operator with the call 9W2FIZ.

A statement from the Borneo Amateur Radio Club on Thursday said due to the speed of the ISS orbit of 7.7km per second (27,744km per hour), HAM operators have a limited time of contact of not more than 10 minutes per region.

HAM operators in Sabah have an equal opportunity to log 9W2MUS on their logbook as the orbital trajectory flies over the region twice daily on its 4th and 13th orbit.

The space station orbits the earth 15 times in a day.

Muszaphar - 9W2MUS would be transmitting on the ISS Worldwide Region downlink of 145.800Mhz.


Source: Daily Express News Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Well-wishes

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman extends his congratulatory message to Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor for being the first Malaysian to go into space.

"This is a historic occasion not just for Dr Sheikh but also for all Malaysians. Malaysia has once again achieved a milestone by sending one of its own to explore where few have gone before," he said in a statement, Thursday.

He said all citizens of the country should be proud of the inaugural space mission by a Malaysian. He expressed hope that Dr Sheikh will inspire other Malaysians particularly the youths so as to be visionary and learn that nothing is impossible.

He also said that the findings acquired through the experiments could lead to new discoveries and advancements in science and technology.


Source: Daily Express News Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P4 - On ISS

KUALA LUMPUR: After docking with the International Space Station (ISS), Malaysia’s first Angkasawan Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Muszaphar, together with Russia's Yuri Malechencko and Nasa commander Peggy Whitson, will have a brief conference with Moscow's Mission Control at about 12.30am on Saturday. 

Based on the programme schedule, an orientation and familiarisation programme will be held, followed by lunch.  

The first round of a series of experiments at the ISS will then commence. 

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is expected to carry out an experiment on microbes followed by cancer cells.  

The second experiment will continue till the following day. 

The astronaut's regiment is strict, with two hours given to prepare for the next day, including getting his food rations ready, before sleeping. 

He will also be eating his dinner and carrying out his "evening hygiene" within the two hours. 

He will then sleep for nine hours. 

The programme for the Angkasawan on the ISS is similar for the next nine days with different experiments being carried out each day.  

There will also be three live teleconferencing sessions that Malaysians can witness – the first with the Prime Minister at 8.20pm on Sunday, the second with Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis on Monday and the last one with Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar and school children on Oct 19.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Editorials (Tributes)

SEREMBAN: The pupils of SK St Paul have taken a keen interest in space exploration after being inspired by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor who studied at the school from 1979 to 1984. 

Headmaster Chen Ah Keng said more pupils were discussing space exploration and related activities after the Seremban-born Angkasawan was short-listed to go into space. 

"It is our hope to get Dr Sheikh Muszaphar to speak to the pupils after his mission." 

"We are so proud to be associated with him as he has made every pupil, teacher and staff member of this school proud," Chen said. 

He said a proposal would be made at a parent-teacher association meeting to name a room or science lab after the Angkasawan. 

Jared Chong, a Year Three pupil who aspires to become a pilot, said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was a national hero. 

"It is great to know that Dr Sheikh was a Paulian."  

"I am sure this mission will benefit the country and Malaysians in many ways," he said. 

Jesa Singh from Year Four said more pupils were now interested in knowing about space. 

"My friends and I surf the Internet more these days to know what exactly is out there. We want to know more about the solar system, the Milky Way and what is out there in space," he said. 

Praying for Dr Sheikh Muszaphar's safe journey, former classmate B. Saravanan, 35, a quality manager, said: 

"Sheikh Mus has always been a go-getter. Although I was an athlete in school, he would always tell me that he would beat me one day." 

Saravanan said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was a boy of few words but he was every teacher’s favourite. 

"I remember how the teachers used to care for him. They used to care for us too but there was something about his demeanour that endeared him to them," he said.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Other Reports

PENANG: When he was young, Lim Choon Kiat was fascinated with the "little flickers" that lit up the sky at night. 

His boyhood fascination turned into a lifetime passion – so much so that he gave up a high-paying job to dedicate his time to learn more about astronomy. 

The former microprocessor layout designer even named his three-year-old son "Titan" – after the largest of the 60 identified moons that circle the planet Saturn. 

The 35-year-old Lim admits that giving up his job was a big gamble but one that has paid off "spiritually and emotionally". 

"I wasn’t content with having a 9-to-5 job and besides, I just never had the time to look 'above' anymore."  

"After nine years in the industry, I realised it was time to dedicate my time to something that I truly had a passion for," said Lim, an avid astrophotographer.  

He also shares in the excitement in having a Malaysian in space.  

Lim said he watched the blast-off on television with Titan. 

"My son is totally captivated with the notion of going into space and I hope to share more of it with him," he said, adding that he wished the nation's first Angkasawan Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor all the best in his mission.  

In 2000, Lim started his own business selling optical telescopes in a shopping complex and four years later, he went full-time.  

His shop is still the first and only one here fully dedicated to selling optical telescopes and astronomy study products ranging from below RM1,000 to more than RM10,000. 

Lim now has his own 3m by 4.5m roll-off roof observatory in Pulau Betong here which cost RM15,000 to build.  

From there, Lim indulges in his astrophotography almost on a daily basis, taking magnificent pictures of the stars and planets in the solar system which he posts on his website


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - Editorials (Tributes)

PETALING JAYA: There is one wish uppermost in fifth former Kelvin Choo Kay Weng's mind these days – that the launch of the Soyuz TMA-II spacecraft will lead to greater interest in aerospace and astronomy. 

"After only 50 years of independence, we have already put someone in space. I hope in time to come, we can put more people there," said the 17-year-old Sekolah Sri Garden student, a member of the team that represented Malaysia at Camp NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, last year. 

More emphasis must be given to aerospace and astronomy, he said, so as to attract talent in these areas back from overseas. 

Kelvin added that watching the spacecraft blasting off on Wednesday with Malaysia’s first Angkasawan, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, was a family affair. 

"I kept reminding my parents and my siblings that the launch was on. Words cannot even begin to describe how proud I was of Dr Sheikh going to space," he said.  

Meanwhile, SMK Sri Permata Form Four student Muhammad Naur Ashman, 16, believes this experience has encouraged Malaysians to strive for higher goals now that "the sky is no longer the limit". 

"This one-in-a-million opportunity has been a huge leap as we have been able to achieve the same standards as developed nations by sending one of our own people to space," he said.

In JOHOR BARU:, Foon Yew High School teacher Kee Kok Siang said his students were very excited to see a Malaysian going to space. 

"Some of them even said they wanted to be like Dr Sheikh Muszaphar in the future," said the Physics Department head. 

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, he added, had set a good example, showing the students that nothing was impossible. 

In PENANG:, a group of Kwang Hwa Primary School pupils could barely contain their excitement during the live broadcast of the launch. 

Kang Yi Hao, 10, said they were all inspired to become Angkasawan because of this historic event.  

"I came with 10 of my friends because we all share the same interest – we hope to travel to space one day. It will be so interesting to see the moon and to explore the mysteries out there," he said. 

They were among more than 50 science and astronomy enthusiasts who turned up to catch the live broadcast at Universiti Sains Malaysia, organised by the university's Astronomy Club. 

Polytechnic student Mohd Ashraf Mustaqin, 21, said he had goose bumps watching the event. 

"Hopefully, this will inspire education institutions to provide courses in space exploration," he said.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - P2 - Launch

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian to go to space, will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri today, a day earlier than Malaysians, on board the Soyuz capsule and the International Space Station (ISS). 

Today is Hari Raya in Kazkahstan, the place from where he was blasted off to space. 

Besides celebrating Raya, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will also see the Soyuz capsule docking with the ISS today. 

The Malaysian, however, will not be missing out on delicious Hari Raya food in space. He has brought along nine Malaysian delicacies. 

Although they are not home-cooked, they are specially prepared for space. The treats he will get to enjoy are kuih bangkit, granola bars, rendang daging, nasi himpit briyani, gegulung pisang, dried mango slices, ginger jelly, chicken satay and tempe chips.  

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will share the food with his crewmembers. The items were prepared under the Mardi food-in-space programme to test the agency's capability to package and develop food items for space. 

They were approved by the Russian Federal Space Agency as they complied with safety, hygiene and contamination requirements since the ISS must be kept sterile.  

Since wet food such as kuah (gravy) is not allowed in space, those normally eaten with gravy are kept dry but moist and tightly packed. 

The crew has a regimented schedule that includes specific times for eating and drinking. 

As part of the Mardi programme, they will fill out questionnaires after consuming the food Dr Sheikh Muszaphar brought along. 

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, American Commander Peggy Whitson and Russian Yuri Malechencko blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 9.22pm (Malaysian time) on Oct 10.  

During the entire two days spent circling the earth while preparing to dock with the ISS, the crew members will be strapped to their customised seats because of the small capsule space. 

Hence, they had their digestive systems flushed out a day prior to launch and they are wearing diapers inside their space suits, which need to be worn at all times while inside the capsule. 

The Expedition 16S team will be able to communicate with the Mission Control Centre in Moscow whenever the capsule is right above the Russian capital city, which means communication occurs every 90 minutes. 

While Whitson and Malenchencko navigate the spacecraft, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will assist them with the flight instruments. 

As soon as it gets close enough to the ISS, the capsule will manoeuvre to dock. It is expected to take a few orbits for the capsule to make a perfect match and "mate" with the ISS.  

Docking is expected to occur at between 10pm and 2am (Malaysian time) today.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST

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