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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, 28 March 2008
Topic: - The Experiments

PENANG: The results of experiments carried out in space by angkasawan Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will be released next month.

The results of various experiments with proteins and the effects of micro gravity and space radiation on cells and microbes would be shared with international researchers soon, the country’s first cosmonaut said during the closing of the Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2008 at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Friday.

"I have spoken with the scientists and researches involved in the project and they said the results will be published soon - in about a month's time," he said, when responding to questions by students attending his talk on Brain in Space: Our New Frontier.

Asked why the experiments had to be carried out in space, the 35-year-old orthopaedic surgeon said it was because zero gravity allowed the specimens to be studied in its "3D form".

"If studied on earth under a microscope, the cells would have been flattened slightly because of the effects of gravity. In space, we can view the specimens as if they were in the human body," he explained, adding that he was keen on returning to medical practice.

"I miss seeing my patients and being in the operating theatre. I also hope to one day find the cure for cancer," he said.

The experiments were conducted while he was on the International Space Station (ISS). On Oct 10, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar made history by becoming the first Malaysian to fly to space.

He managed to bring home the specimens safely despite the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft's rough landing on Oct 21.

The protein crystals were sent straight to Osaka University for analysis with an ultra-sophisticated microscope while the osteoblast and Huvec were brought to Russia's Institute of Bio Medical Problems for analysis before being flown to Malaysia on Oct 27 last year.

The cancer and microbe cells went straight to Malaysian laboratories.

He told participants that his health would still have to be monitored to determine the effects of space radiation.

"I am healthy. Thank God my normal body function was not affected but with radiation, the effects may only be apparent several years down the line. That is why my heath has to be monitored," he said, adding that by being in space, he could have been exposed to certain unnatural conditions and risks including exposure to radiation equivalent to five chest X-rays daily, while micro-gravity caused redistribution of his body fluid.

His body became a live laboratory for Malaysian, European and Japanese scientists who were studying the effects of micro-gravity and space radiation on humans.

These effects on humans in space are also being studied under the European Space Agency and Japanese Space Exploration Agency (Jaxa) experiments, of which Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is participating as a specimen.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor says he plans to settle down in 2009.

ANGKASAWAN Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor has requested his two-year contract with the government to be shortened, not because he has lost interest in the space programme but to get married.

The 35-year-old bachelor said he had conveyed the request to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis.

The two-year contract, which was also signed by fellow astronaut Major Dr Faiz Khaleed, ends next year.

Dr Muszaphar said: "I'm already 35 and ready to get married. I hope to settle down by 2009."

Speaking to reporters at a gathering to honour him and Dr Faiz in parliament yesterday, Dr Muszaphar however declined to say whether he had already found a partner.

With a smile, he said he wanted to keep his personal life private.

Jamaludin said Dr Faiz would most probably have to sign a 4+2 year contract with the government if he was chosen to go to space in 2010 or 2011.

The reception for Dr Muszaphar and Dr Faiz was organised by the Backbenchers Club.

The banquet hall where the function was held was adorned with banners congratulating Dr Muszaphar on his successful mission to space.

A video on the Malaysian space programme was also shown.

The astronauts' visit created a frenzy among MPs and parliament staff who jostled to get a picture and autographs from the duo.

Later at a question-and-answer session with the MPs, Dr Muszaphar said he did not feel any anxiety during his sojourn in space.

"Although people said I looked panicky and stressed, I felt calm throughout Ramadan due to the support and prayers from all Malaysians.

"If I looked uneasy, it was during my three hours in the Soyuz spacecraft as my legs developed cramps as the space was small."

He said he was proud to fly the Jalur Gemilang and recite the Rukun Negara in the International Space Station.

Upon landing, the urgent cargo will be transported by National Angkasawan Programme technical committee member Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman.

Care and speed are required to preserve their results.

The protein crystals will be sent straight to Osaka University for analysis with an ultra-sophisticated microscope while the osteoblast and Huvec will be brought to Russia's Institute of Bio Medical Problems for analysis before being flown to Malaysia on Oct 27.

The cancer and microbe cells will go straight to Malaysian laboratories.


Source: The New Straits Times Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM WST
Friday, 19 October 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha  will bring home experiments and symbolic items such as the Malaysian flag.  - Reuters

Great care will be taken to deliver the experiments to scientists when Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha lands on Sunday.

Everything from the packaging of the experiment kits to their transportation would be handled carefully, said head of the Malaysian scientific delegation Dr A. Rahman A. Jamal.

"When Dr Muszaphar lands, our engineers will be on hand to receive the items at the landing site in Kazakhstan, where they will be transported to Moscow to be given to our scientists."

This step was a crucial stage of the experiments, Rahman said yesterday.

"The specimens and kits will be marked as 'urgent cargo' because their safe delivery is essential to ensure they are not disturbed."

"The crystals in the 'Protein crystallisation in space' experiment, for instance, are brittle and sensitive to changes in temperature and sudden jolts."

Angkasawan programme engineers will help scientists upon retrieval of the experiments.

"The packaging was designed to preserve the contents. Our research has been made easier due to the engineers' help."


Source: The New Straits Times

Posted by site editor at 3:07 PM JST
Topic: - The Experiments

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's first astronaut, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha today conducted five experiments in microgravity condition at the International Space Station (ISS).

The first was the spinning of the Malaysian traditional game gasing (top), where he attached a string to a 95-gramme top made of aluminium and let it spin in mid-air in horizontal and vertical positions for less than a minute.

In the second experiment, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar pressed a pack containing strawberry juice which came out within seconds in a jelly-like substance floating in mid-air.

He later used a spoon to scoop the floating jelly and put it into his mouth.

The third experiment involved the mixing of oil and water in a square-shaped crystal box with the substances mixing well in microgravity condition. In normal situation oil floats on top of water.

In his fourth experiment Dr Sheikh Muszaphar showed the audience on earth how a yo-yo would swing in microgravity condition.

Under normal circumstances, a yo-yo goes up and down when in play but in a microgravity condition, the yo-yo goes up, down and to the front as well.

In his last experiment, he showed the differences in velocity of three balls of different sizes, travelling in microgravity.

The balls appeared to have moved in slow motion during the experiment.

The video conference about microgravity with the Malaysian astronaut was telecast live by Astro and watched by students brought specially to the National Science Centre here. It was also attended by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar and Deputy Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha.

During the 10-minute session, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar wore a short-sleeved batik shirt, the Jalur Gemilang hanging proudly in the background. Kong also asked Dr Sheikh Muszaphar what was his biggest challenge at the ISS.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar replied that it was sleeping in the same place like people would do on earth.

He said he would sleep in one place and would find himself waking up the next day at a different place.

Saying that he was doing well, the Malaysian astronaut also advised the students to study hard and show keen interest in science subjects.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, Noh said the ministry would look into the possibility of introducing new subjects related to microgravity and space science.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is scheduled to return to Earth on Oct 21 with two Russians astronauts, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov.

The Soyuz TMA-11, which brought Dr Sheikh Muszaphar to the ISS with two other crew members, blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct 10



Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

MOSCOW: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor's own body has become a live laboratory for Malaysian, European and Japanese scientists who are studying the effects of micro-gravity and space radiation on humans. 

National Angkasawan Programme director Kol Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said by being in space, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is exposed to certain unnatural conditions and risks including exposure to radiation equivalent to five chest X-rays daily, while micro-gravity causes redistribution of his body fluid. 

Kol Dr Zulkeffeli, who is also his flight surgeon, said the Angkasawan's health status had to be monitored constantly as his normal body function would be affected. 

These effects on humans in space are also being studied under the European Space Agency and Japanese Space Exploration Agency (Jaxa) experiments, of which Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is participating as a specimen. 

For the ESA, he uses the agency's eye-tracking device to record his visual vestibular mismatch or how micro-gravity affects his balance, and the extent eye movements trigger motion sickness.


MESSAGE FROM SPACE: Excited students of SK Bukit Damansara can hardly contain their excitement after speaking to Dr Sheikh Muszaphar via radio link at the National Planetarium yesterday.
The other ESA experiments are motion perception, lower back pain and immunology for pre- and post flight. In exchange for the collaboration, he gets to bring back an extra 2kg of mass load to earth.  

Under the Jaxa study, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar's exposure to radiation is measured through a dosimeter placed inside his pocket. 

Dr Zulkeffeli said that the level of radiation exposure was "sensitive (classified) information" and even the crewmember would not like to know how much radiation they were exposed to. Space conditions are also said to affect the crewmen's sperm count. 

"The Russians said the most vulnerable area is the sleeping cabin so the crew do not like to sleep there," said Dr Zulkeffeli. 

For active protection, the crew wear protective clothing and the ISS shell has aluminium coating and a shield to deflect solar radiation. 

"The ISS' positioning according to the sun location on each orbit is also to protect against solar radiation and not only to position the ISS solar panel," he said. 

He added that the solar activity was monitored minute-by-minute by ground control staff who predicted the level to position the ISS away from exposure.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Topic: - The Experiments

The control room at the Mission Control Centre, Moscow, with large screens showing the position of the International Space Station, its location in relation to earth and scenes inside the station.

THE International Space Station may be more than 350km above Earth but the well-being of astronauts on board is closely monitored by the Mission Control Centre in Moscow.

The Mission Control Centre (MCC), located 31km away from the Russian capital, has detailed screens and monitors to keep tabs on atmospheric conditions in the International Space Station (ISS).

Angkasawan programme director Kol Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said even the temperature in the ISS was controlled from MCC.

"MCC will detect changes in the activity levels on the ISS and adjust the temperature accordingly. Whenever there is an increase in activity, the temperature will be reduced.

"This is to ensure that astronauts are as comfortable as possible -- life on the ISS should be conducive for them to work as some of them stay up there for months," he told Malaysian journalists yesterday.
Due to the controlled temperature, astronauts on the ISS never sweat.

"They don't have to take showers - they just wipe themselves down."

Dr Zulkeffeli, who is also the flight surgeon, added that radiation levels were also monitored from MCC.

"As part of an experiment with the Japanese Space Agency, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will be wearing a dosimeter - which measures radiation - inside his clothes.

"Astronauts are exposed to about five times the radiation of an X-ray but only the MCC will know the exact extent of exposure," he said.

"The shell of the ISS is coated with an aluminium shield which deflects the sun's rays, particularly when there are solar explosions on the sun's surface.

"The positioning of the ISS is also based on the location of the sun so as to minimise solar radiation," added Dr Zulkeffeli.

Microgravity also affects the body, he said.

"We're stable when our bodies are upright on Earth, but in microgravity, our blood flow and bodily fluids are re-distributed. We tend to urinate more in space."

In his latest private medical conference on Tuesday, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar had informed him he was sleeping better.

"While he could only manage six and a half hours' sleep during his first few days on the ISS, he's now able to sleep eight hours. He's in good health, although he mentioned some back pain, which is normal.

"He also seems to enjoy fruit juice more than plain water now."

Apart from the experiments conducted for Malaysian scientists, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is also involved in experiments for the European Space Agency.

"One of them, the 'eye tracking device' experiment, studies visual vestibular mismatch, which is the extent one's eye movements and natural balance are affected by microgravity and how this can trigger motion sickness in space."


Source: The New Straits Times Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, who is currently at the International Space Station (ISS), is also assisting the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in their research.

National Angkasawan Programme Director Col Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said the research involved the effects of microgravity and solar radiation on the astronaut's body system.

"The ESA research is on the effects of microgravity on the back portion of the body, movement perception, resilience before and after the ISS trip and the stability of visibility and the body," he told Bernama when contacted in Moscow today.

The JAXA study is on the level of exposure to radiation by the astronaut in space.

"JAXA introduced a gadget which is placed in the astronaut's shirt pocket to study the radiation level," he said.

All the studies conducted by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will be brought back for analysis to their countries of origin be it Russia, Japan or Malaysia.

He said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was in good health and could conduct all the experiments entrusted to him.

Dr Zulkeffeli said his sleeping hours had also stabilised at eight hours daily compared to six hours previously and that he also performed daily prayers.

He said plans to welcome back Malaysia's first astronaut would be made in stages starting tomorrow.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and two Russian astronauts are expected to land on Oct 21



Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Monday, 15 October 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

MOSCOW: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor has successfully started scientific experiments with the first activation of protein crystallisation on Day One onboard the International Space Station. 

Yesterday, he also demonstrated the effects of microgravity in space by spinning a top as part of an educational programme. 

In carrying out his experiments, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is being aided by Malaysian scientists, headed by Prof Dr A. Rahman A. Jamal, who are in contact with him twice a day from the Mission Control Centre Moscow (MCCM). 

Prof A. Rahman said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar had gone through the most challenging part of the experiments which involved a large number of 36 fluid processing apparatus (FPA) using a plastic glove box as part of safety requirements on the ISS.  

"Now things will be more smooth sailing for him," said Prof A. Rahman. 

Principal investigator of the protein experiments Prof Dr Raja Noor Zaliha Raja Abd Rahman said these experiments would stop on Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s last day aboard the ISS. 

On the second day on the ISS (or Flight Day Four), the 36 FPAs for the four cells - cancer, luekaemia, huvec (human umbilical vein endothelial cell) and oestoblast (human bone cell) - experiments were activated. 

The experiments are aimed at studying the effects of space conditions on the acceleration of cell and microbe growth to enable scientists to study their nature and come out with, among others, medical cures.  

During the experiments, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is also tasked with taking photographs aided by Russian ISS commander Fyodor Yuchikhin.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Saturday, 15 September 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

THE Angkasawan candidates may have been receiving the most attention since the Government embarked on a programme to send a Malaysian to space, but equally significant are the scientists behind them whose experiments are set to make important breakthroughs. 

Indeed the most important aim of the mission is to make discoveries of these experiments that will have a major impact on medicine, treatment technology as well as develop new industries. 

Three life sciences experiments have been short-listed from 40 experiments submitted by the nation’s universities.  

They are the cells, microbes and protein crystallisation experiments in space.  

Heading the cells experiments is Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Medical Molecular biology Institute (Umbi) director Prof Dr A. Rahman A. Jamal, while the institute’s principal fellow/ senior consultant microbiologist Prof Dr Ramelah Mohamed is in charge of the experiments on microbes.  

A TIP FROM THE MASTER: Prof Dr A. Rahman A. Jamal explains the "fluid processing apparatus" to Angkasawan candidates Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 34, (left) and Faiz Khaleed at HUKM. - BERNAMA

The protein crystallisation in space project is headed by Universiti Putra Malaysia deputy dean (research & graduate studies) Prof Dr Raja Noor Zaliha Raja Abd Rahman.  

Prof A. Rahman said that besides having to address the rationale of sending an experiment to space, other challenges they had to face included limitations in the International Space Station (ISS) due to limitation of space, routine lab equipment, crew time and ideal experimental conditions. 

There are also the issue of specialised hardware, safety issues, documentation, engineering as well as logistics. 

There's not only the limited load the astronaut can take along to the ISS (15kg) and bring back (5kg) but there is also the nightmare of strict Russian customs clearance on the flight hardware. Nevertheless, it is an exciting time for the local scientists. 

On the impact and spin-off from the experiments, Prof A. Rahman said it would be a first for Malaysian scientists, who will get the rare opportunity to learn, design and carry out experiments in space. 

They will also be able to conduct research collaboration and interaction with top US and Russian scientists besides administrative collaboration with Nasa, European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa). 

"Although we might not be able to afford to send an astronaut to space again, this programme will establish local expertise and capacity building in gravitational biology and space research," he said. 

On why space experiments were needed, Prof A Rahman explained that space provided the unique condition of microgravity and space radiation. 

Microgravity affects various organisms and biological systems. For one thing, cells become spherical in space and this affects various physiological processes. 

He said bacteria also grows faster and may become more virulent while protein crystals become more pure because of the lack of gravity. 

The experiments may sound complicated but the astronaut’s tasks have been simplified, with the limited time he would have for the experiments. 

Prof A Rahman said the tool for his experiment involved simple special test tubes called the fluid processing apparatus (FPA). 

The apparatus has three levels of containment (to meet safety requirements), including three chambers to be filled with the cells/bacteria, medium as nutrient for the cell and fixatives, respectively.  

The experiments will be loaded into the flight hardware two days before take off and examined for leakages before being packed into a special bag. 

The mission for the Angkasawan involves unloading the FPAs into the incubator for incubation at 37°C for optimal growth of cells.  

On the third flight day, the astronaut will activate the experiment by pushing the plunger to add the medium into the cell/ bacteria while on the sixth day, he will terminate the experiment by adding the fixative to the cell/bacteria suspension. 

The astronaut will activate the crystal growth experiments by rotating the protein chamber and conduct daily status checks. At the end he will deactivate the experiment by rotating the chamber to reseal the samples.  

"It is a simple job but because of micro-gravity, a 30 second job will take four times longer. We will be in constant contact with the astronaut in case anything goes wrong," said Prof A Rahman, adding that the experiments would be packed into the special bag and secured onto the returning vehicle. 

"The experiments, together with the astronauts, will return to Kazakhstan as urgent cargo. Speed is important because of the need to control temperature, and the load has to be handled with care. The experiments will be transported to Malaysia for analysis," he said. 

Prof A. Rahman said analysis of the experiments would take between three months to a year and the results would be published and shared in seminars. 

But even before the Angkasawan has gone to space, the Malaysian scientists have already gained international recognition.  

Japan, which plans to launch its Japan Experiment Module in the ISS, has invited Prof A. Rahman and the other scientists to participate in future experiments because of the experience they have gained in the last two years.  

Under the Mars exploration programme, Russia has asked the Malaysians to propose experiments on its volunteers for its simulation exercise.  

"The trip to Mars is expected to take 500 days and the simulation will involve volunteers confined in a building for a long period. The experiment will be on how they will be affected in terms of psychology, physiology and behaviour," he said. 

The astronaut too will be participating in the European Space Agency study on astronauts. For the Angkasawan effort, the agency has gotten an extra 2 kg of load for the programme to be taken on board.


Source: News @ The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Friday, 13 July 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

SHAH ALAM: Studying the mechanism of bone loss and blood pressure around human hearts in a micro-gravity environment are among the experiments lined up for the country's first angkasawan (astronaut) during his mission to the International Space Station (ISS). 

"Performing these experiments in space is a great opportunity to extend our horizons in medical science because space has conditions that earth doesn't have," said Space Medicine Programme Coordinator Datuk Professor Dr Khalid Yusoff during a press conference at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) yesterday. 

The experiments are under the auspices of the Space Medicine Programme, and will also include observation of the astronaut's mental status. 

"It would take us more than 50 years to observe bone loss in humans but a 10-day trip to space would enable us to get a lot more information because humans experience 10 times more bone loss in space than on earth," Khalid said. 

He said the experiments have been endorsed by Russia, the United States and various European countries. 

"The proposal, hypothesis and methodology for these projects were started last year and have all have been finalised now," he said. 

Present at the press conference were the two Malaysian astronaut candidates, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Capt Dr Faiz Khaleed. 

The Space Medicine Programme is led by UiTM. The consortium of Malaysian universities and research centres collaboratively undertaking this programme includes the Institute of Aviation Medicine of the Defence Ministry, Universiti Darul Iman, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.


Source: News @ The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

KUALA LUMPUR: Most Malaysians think it is a waste of time and money to send a fellow countryman into space, programme director of the national astronaut programme, Col Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said. 

"Worse, many are still under the assumption that we are going to spin gasing or make teh tarik in space."  

SCIENTIFIC GEAR: (From left) UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute (UMBI) Senior Consultant Prof Dr Ramelah Mohamed, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Dr Faiz. Dr Zulkeffeli and UMBI director Prof Dr A. Rahman A. Jamal looking at the fluid-processing apparatus which will be used to store and study cancer cells and bacteria microbes.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he told a press conference here yesterday. 

"Our objective is to uncover monumental findings in the field of science and many countries, including the United States and Russia, are eager to see the results of our experiments," he added. 

Present at the press conference were space trainees Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Sheikh Shukor and Dr Faiz Khaleed. 

One of them will be the first Malaysian astronaut and will go into space on an international mission, starting on Oct 10. 

Lamenting that most Malaysians do not take the programme seriously, Dr Zulkeffeli said:  

"A recent survey revealed that they still think it’s a waste of time and money, and that we’re just going to undertake a 'little' science project when our angkasawan is sent into space."  

He said our angkasawan would face a very regimented schedule in carrying out four major experiments. 

These include studying liver cancer and leukaemia cells, bacteria and protein crystallisation and the physics of objects in space. 

"Every single move and action of the angkasawan must be planned to the minute, as only 108 minutes per day can be allocated for carrying out the experiments." 

"Our angkasawan will conduct these projects on the third day in space, due to logistics constraints." 

"Clearly, we do not want to waste any time, as our findings could significantly change and contribute to the field of modern medicine, science and industry," said Dr Zulkeffeli. 

Among the institutes that drew up the experiments and will supervise the programme are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Darul Iman and Universiti Putra Malaysia. 

The others are the Malaysian Genome Institute, Aviation Medicine Institute, Sunway University College, Health Ministry and Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (Mardi). 

The idea is to carry out the studies in a microgravity and space radiation condition, as both aspects have a significant impact on various organisms and biological systems. 

Dr Zulkeffeli said the study of an object's physics in space, such as spinning a top (the source of the public's mockery on the experiment) is not to be misunderstood.  

He said such experiments would help significantly in attracting the young to take notice of the world of science.


Source: News @ The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM JST
Saturday, 6 January 2007
Topic: - The Experiments

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not only be sending astronauts but also cancer cellS, bacteria and protein for research in space, said Drector-General of National Space Agency (Angkasa) Professor Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman.

She added the two cell types are liver cancer cells and leukaemia cancer cells and two types of bacteria (microbes) - Helicobacter Pylori and Acinetobacter Baumanii.

In addition, protein crystalisation of Thermostable Lipase and Cold Active Lipase wil also be done in space.

"This research mission will be given to our two astronauts Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Kapten Dr Faiz Khaleed," she told reporters at Universiti Kebangsaan Hospital Malaysia (HUKM) here Friday.

The Malaysian astronauts will undergo a research and development programme (R&D) at the International Space Station (ISS) some 402.34 km from earth for ten days.

Only one of them will be chosen to join the Russian spaceship Soyuz to ISIS.

They are currently undergoing 12 months training at the Yuri Gagarin Space Training Centre at Star City in Moscow since Oct 9.

Sheikh Muszaphar dan Dr Faiz returned home on Dec 30 to celebrate Aidiladha after being given leave by the Russian Federation Space Agency (Roskosmos).

Dr Mazlan said Malaysian scientists will send the cell and bacteria to the launching centre to be placed into the Soyuz rocket that will take the Malaysian astronaut into space.

The Malaysian scientists involved in the project are Director of Molecule Medical Institute (UMBI), UKM Professor Dr Abdul Rahman Abdul Jamal, Fellow UMBI, Professor Dr Ramelah Mohamed and Professor Dr Raja Noor Zaliha Raja Abd Rahman from the Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science Faculty of Universiti Putra Malaysia



Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM WST
Monday, 18 December 2006
Topic: - The Experiments

MOSCOW: There will be no teh tarik-making or roti canai-tossing experiments in space for our Angkasawan when he blasts off in October. 

Instead, he will carry out at least 10 laboratory tests for serious research designed by 10 universities, institutes of higher education and government science agencies. 

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the experiments were important as "they will have an important impact on our local food and medical industries". 

"All the experiments done in space so far are for the benefit of the countries that sponsored their scientists to fly to space."  

"There have been no scientific studies in space on any Asian interest, in terms of medicine or food technology."  

"The Americans do experiments for their own industries and they do not share their findings. It is the same with the Russians or Japanese; they will not share. This is why it is important for our Angkasawan to carry out these tests," he said. 

Dr Jamaluddin had earlier visited the two Angkasawan candidates, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Sheikh Shukor and Dr Faiz Khaleed, at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre at the Russian Star City about 35km from here. 

The institutes, which drew up the experiments and will supervise the Angkasawan, are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Darul Iman, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysian Genome Institute, Aviation Medicine Institute, Sunway University College, Health Ministry and Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (Mardi). 

The experiments will be in the fields of life sciences, space medicine, physics education and food technology.  

The Angkasawan, who gets to carry 15kg of equipment on board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, will do tests on the effects of microgravity and space radiation on microbes, cells, food and crystals. (See chart for details.) 

Dr Jamaluddin hoped that the release of the details of these experiments would put paid to earlier reports about the Angkasawan having to make teh tarik or toss roti canai in space. 

"We are not sending up a space tourist. Whoever is chosen will be carrying out ground-breaking experiments with serious implications on our economy." 

"Mardi’s research to be carried out will have serious implications on how we can pack our foodstuff for export in the future. We may be able to get Malaysian foodstuff packed in a manner that it stays fresh for a longer time." 

"These kinds of experiments can only be done quickly in an environment like space," he added. 

The Angkasawan programme is part of Malaysia's purchase of the Sukhoi multi-role fighter aircraft from the Russians in 2000.  

Unlike other countries that have to pay the Russians to send their astronauts to space, the entire programme is borne by the Russians.


Source: The Star Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM WST
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Topic: - The Experiments

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian pioneer astronaut will spin top and toss "batu seremban' (five-stone game) as part of an experiment during his space travel.

"The astronaut will also paint a batik motif and make 'teh tarik' ('pulled' tea) which would be shared with his fellow astronauts," said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim.

Rohani, who was representing the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh (BN-Putatan) in the Dewan Rakyat, here Wednesday.

('Batu seremban' is played by throwing one stone and sweeping another on the floor and then simultaneously catching the one thrown earlier.)

On Marcus's original question, Rohani said a lot of scientists had forwarded their research proposal in space to the astronaut.

"The main objective of sending an astronaut into orbit is to carry out scientific experiments under microgravity - a situation alien to the earth. As such the National Aerospace Agency has opened doors to our scientists to show their mettle and capabilities through the National Astronaut Programme," said Rohani.

She said the outcome of the experiments would be studied on earth with the hope that it would unravel the mysteries in science, education and medicine.

"The National Astronaut Programme is not only aimed at despatching an astronaut into space but it will be a continuous affair as it will benefit the people."

She said the programme was not borne by the Treasury, but derived by offsetting the purchase of Sukhoi jet fighters from Russia by the Defence Ministry.

Two Malaysian astronaut candidates Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Kapt Dr Faiz Khaleed are now undergoing rigorous 12-month training at Star City, Moscow where eventually one of them will be selected as the pioneer Malaysian astronaut who will lift off from the International Space Station



Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM WST
Topic: - The Experiments

Sheikh Muszaphar. - PHOTO from
Malaysia's first astronaut will go to the International Space Station on a Russian spacecraft to play traditional Malay children's games without gravity, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

The astronaut yet to be selected will play "batu seremban", or "five stones" and spin traditional Malay tops in space, Agriculture Ministry parliamentary secretary Rohani Abdul Karim told lawmakers in parliament, according to national news agency Bernama.

"Batu seremban" involves throwing and catching stones, and is usually played by young girls.

"The main purpose of launching an astronaut in space is to conduct experiments in microgravity,” Rohani said. "These conditions are not available on earth ... and this is an opportunity for our scientists to prove their mettle."

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 34, and Faiz Khaleed, 26, are vying to join a Russian space expedition for eight days in September next year.

Sheikh Muszaphar is considered the "priority" candidate while Faiz is the reserve option, the government has said. They were selected from more than 10,000 candidates.

Both are currently in Moscow undergoing training


Source: MosNews Online

Posted by site editor at 12:01 AM WST

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