Angkasawan program


Angkasawan program

The "Angkasawan program" was an initiative by the Malaysian government to send a Malaysian to the International Space Station on board Soyuz TMA-11. The program was named after the the Malay word for astronaut, "Angkasawan". It resulted in Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor becoming the first Malaysian in space on October 10, 2007.

This program had both scientific and technological objectives, but was also conceived to be inspirational. However many saw the program as being motivated more by politics than by science.

Background

The program was officially announced by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad, as a joint programme with the Russian Federation. It was a project under the government-to-government offset agreement through the purchase of Sukhoi SU-30MKM fighter jets for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Under this agreement the Russian Federation bore the cost of training two Malaysians for space travel and for sending one to the International Space Station (ISS) in October 2007.

The Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA), Ministry of Science, Technologies and Innovations was given the responsibility of selecting the candidates. Two of the four selected participants were then sent to the Cosmonaut Training Programme in Star City, Russia for 18 months of training.

election

The four finalists were:cite web|url=http://www.space.com/news/ap_060314_mayalsia_astronaut_cand.html|title=Malaysia Narrows Astronaut Search to Four Candidates|work=Space.com|accessdate=2006-07-29]
*Siva Vanajah, 35 [cite web
url=http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/candidates/english/siva_vanajah.htm
title=Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: S. Vanajah A/P Siva Subramaniam
accessdate=2008-09-26
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*Mohammed Faiz Kamaluddin, 34 [cite web
url=http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/candidates/english/faiz_mohammed.htm
title=Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin
accessdate=2008-09-26
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*Faiz Khaleed, 25 [cite web
url=http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/international/english/khaleed_faiz.htm
title=Cosmonaut Biography: Faiz bin Khaleed
accessdate=2008-09-26
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*Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 34 [cite web
url=http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/international/english/muszaphar_sheikh.htm
title=Cosmonaut Biography: Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor
accessdate=2008-09-26
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On July 23, 2007, Sheikh Muszaphar participated in a NASA news conference with the Expedition 16 crew.cite web | url=http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2007/jul/HQ_M07087_ISS_briefing.html | title= NASA Holds Briefing With First Female Station Commander and Crew] Faiz Khaleed served as backup to Sheikh Muszaphar.

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was launched on Soyuz TMA-11 on October 10, 2007 and became the first Malaysian in space. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Malaysians over the moon at their first astronaut |url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hDgQUf5Cas2bUteAYaKpy8TYS7AQ |work= |publisher=Agence France-Presse |date=2007-10-10 |accessdate=2007-12-07 ] He returned on Soyuz TMA-10 after a ten-day stay on the ISS.cite web|url=http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/One_For_The_Record_Books_Malaysian_Heads_Into_Space.html|title=One For The Record Books Malaysian Heads Into Space|work=Spacedaily.com|accessdate=2006-07-29] [cite news |first=Chris |last=Baldwin |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=First Malaysian astronaut returns to hero's welcome |url=http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL2153871920071022 |work= |publisher=Reuters |date=Mon Oct 22, 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-07 ]

Experiments

On November 15, 2006, in a response to a question in the Dewan Rakyat, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim (representing the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry) stated that the Malaysian astronaut would, "spin top and toss " [http://library.thinkquest.org/C001252F/aesthetics/games/batu_seremban.htm Batu Seremban] " (five-stone game) as part of an experiment during his space travel". She added, "The astronaut will also paint a batik motif and make "teh tarik" ("pulled" tea) which would be shared with his fellow astronauts."cite web|url=http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/news_lite.php?id=230193|title=M'sian Astronauts To Spin Top, Toss Batu Seremban In Space|work=Bernama|accessdate=2006-12-19] .

However, on December 18, 2006, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said that making teh-tarik in space would not happen. Various experiments drawn up by selected Malaysian institutes would be carried out by the Malaysian astronaut while in zero-gravity. In the planned physics education (live class in space) portion of the spaceflight, the astronaut will also be, "demonstrating the behavior of fluids" and "observing the effects of a spinning object", to show Malaysian students on the ground the effects of zero-gravity on selected physical phenomena.cite web|url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/12/18/nation/16350473&sec=nation|title=No Space for Teh-tarik|work=The Star|accessdate=2006-12-19]

During the mission, Sheikh Muszaphar performed experiments on board the International Space Station relating to the characteristics and growth of liver cancer and leukemia cells, the crystallisation of various proteins and microbes in space. [Cite web|url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/10/11/nation/19136025&sec=nation|title=Mission in space|accessyear=2007|accessmonth=October 13|publisherTheStar|year=2007|author=theStar|language=English]

The experiments relating to liver cancer, leukemia cells and microbes were aimed at benefitting general science and medical research, while the experiments relating to the crystallisation of proteins, lipases in this case, were designed to benefit local industries. Cite web|url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/9/22/nation/18514133&sec=nation|title=Tapping into space research|accessyear=2007|accessmonthday=September 22|publisher=TheStar|year=2007|author=theStar|language=English]

Criticism

The cost of sending Sheikh Muszaphar into space has been estimated at RM 105 million (approximately USD 26 million). The Malaysian space program has been criticized as a waste of money for a developing nation that could ill afford such indulgences. Officials defended the funding of the programme as part of a US$900 million defence deal struck with Moscow in 2003 to buy 18 Sukhoi Su-30 MKM fighter jets.cite web|url=http://www.straitstimes.com/Free/Story/STIStory_165525.html|title=Malaysia's first astronaut heads to space|work=Straits Times|accessdate=2007-10-18] .

References

External links

* [http://www.angkasa.gov.my/welcome/Menu/default.php Malaysian National Space Agency]


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