KUALA LUMPUR â€“ Hoping to inspire the younger generation in the field of science, Malaysia’s first astronaut, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is scouting for five potential students to participate in the ‘Young Angkasawan Challenge’ programme.
He said the programme, to be launched in March would provide the opportunity for the selected students to visit the Yuri Gagarin State Scientific Research and Testing Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) at Star City in Russia by year-end.
“The programme will select the best students from all over Malaysia who have the characteristics and attitude of becoming an astronaut.
“I hope to find the top five students who are suitable and interested in ‘The Final Frontier’ (Space),” he said after the handover ceremony of the SOKOL space suit here today.
Hoping to collaborate with the youth and sports ministry, as well other sponsors, Sheikh Muszaphar added the challenge aimed to test the students’ mental, physical and psychological capabilities to find ‘the cream of the crop’.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Muszaphar said the handing-over ceremony of the SOKOL
space suit by the Russian Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov was an emotional moment
for him after his historic journey to the Soyuz TMA-11, nine years ago.
He hoped the space suit which weighed about 9.5kg and bought in collaboration with Aladdin Group could spark ideas and inspiration for Malaysians, especially the younger generation, who in time might create a new history for the nation.
“I formed a very strong bond of friendship and camaraderie with my fellow cosmonauts on board the International Space Station (ISS). Nevertheless, the SOKOL space suit that had kept me safe was literally and figuratively ‘closer to my heart’ than any of the bond I had formed with my colleagues.
“My bond with this SOKOL space suit that had been tailor-made for me was forged on earth and sealed in the vacuum of space, all witnessed by the stars,” he said.
The spacesuit will be on display at the Menara MBMR, before going on a nationwide tour this February, starting in Negri Sembilan. – BERNAMA