Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Malaysian Astronaut Delivers Space Talk

By Hj Ahmed Shaheeb

Dato Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor shared his story on being the first Malaysian "Angkasawan" and his journey into space at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday.

Dr Sheikh's space travel talk, co-organised by GED Enterprise and UBD, was aimed at encouraging more Bruneians to take an interest in space science. He entertained the predominantly female crowd, and walked around the stage instead of talking from a fixed position.

He touched on many of the difficulties he faced when eating, drinking, sleeping and "praying in space", a topic of much debate among Muslim scholars across the globe.

He said a Muslim is required to pray five times a day. Each prayer is performed at a certain defined hour.

The challenge is how to tell what time it is in a shuttle or space station that orbited the earth 16 times every 24 hours.

It means he has to pray 80 times a day, as the sun rises and sets every 45 minutes. The solution is to adhere to the prayer times in Russia from where they had launched.

He talked about how hectic it was onboard the ISS for 10 days, when he conducted experiments on cancer cells,bacteria, protein crystallisation and tropical disease microbes.

The experiments would benefit medical research . They are related to studies on the growth of liver cancer and leukaemia cell in the hope of finding a cure for cancer and osteoporosis.

"Reaching for the stars" a book authored by Dr Sheikh's brother Sheikh Mustapha Shukor Al-Masrie, was made available at the Chancellor's Hall.

It is a memoir revealing a brother's love and admiration for his elder brother the 'Angkasawan' - a Malaysian hero.

The guest of honour was Dato Paduka Dr Hj Ismail Hj Duraman, UBD Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Sheikh, who has conducted motivational talks at over 200 schools and universities around Malaysia, will be in Brunei Darussalam until July 27.

He is a guest of the Knowledge Convention (Majlis llmu) to be held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

The next lecture, jointly sponsored by TAIB and Brunei Shell Marketing, will be on July 26 and July 27 at the Knowledge Convention in ICC.

Dr Sheikh was part of 'The Angkasawan' programme initiatiated by the Malaysian government to send a Malaysian to the International Space Station (ISS) on board Soyuz TMA-11. The programme was named after the Malay word for astronaut, 'Angkasawan'.

He said the main objectives of the angkasawan programme are to increase interest in science and technology among young Malaysians,to inspire them and motivate them to dream the impossible while inculcating interest in space and space travel among school-going children.He hopes to be the catalyst for change in the mind of young Malaysians.

"What the mind believes the body can achieve," he said when asked what got him through the tough times and brought him to where he is now in life.

Dato Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor (born Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al-Masrie bin Sheikh Mustapha on July 27, 1972), an orthopaedic surgeon, is the first Malaysian to go into space. He was launched to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz TMA-11 with the Expedition 16 crew on Oct 10, 2007.

Sheikh Muszaphar flew under an agreement with Russia and returned to earth on Oct 21, 2007, aboard Soyuz TMA-10 with the Expedition 15 crew members, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, after nine days aboard the station.

Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership

Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership

WhiteKnightTwo fuselage fatigue 'not an issue' says Rutan

Published Tuesday 29th July 2008 10:32 GMT

As expected, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson and American aerospace engineer Burt Rutan unveiled the WhiteKnightTwo mothership yesterday that will be used for his project to launch tourists into space.

The mothership itself is not designed to leave the atmosphere, but will air launch the yet-to-be-finished SpaceShipTwo at an altitude of approximately 50,000 feet (15,151 metres). Once it breaks free, SpaceShipTwo will fire its rockets and take six very wealthy passengers on a 2½ hour ride into the Earth's thermosphere at approximately three times the speed of sound.

However, amid claims that fatigue would be a problem for its all-composite fuselage and wing design, Rutan said: “Fatigue is not an issue at all.”

Rutan added that Scaled Composites had opted to design the aircraft entirely on computer instead of building a full-scale mock-up and expected “80% of what you learn” about the aircraft to emerge on its first flight, which is expected in September, later this year.

Branson unveils WhiteKnightTwo

God bless her and all who sail in her

Virgin Galactic plans to use two WhiteKnightTwo craft with a fleet of five SpaceShipTwo vehicles from 2010. The aim is to fly once a day with the two motherships flying a few times each week.

The WhiteKightTwo rolled out yesterday was named Eve, after Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson’s mother, but it is not the first to enter commercial operation. Eve will be used as a test programme prototype much like the first shuttle Enterprise was.

Business jets and private planes are the only other all-composite fuselage aircraft that fly on a regular basis. But these fly far below WhiteKnightTwo’s planned operating altitude of 50,000ft.

The pioneering spaceship company suffered a tragedy on July 2007, when three employees were killed and another three badly hurt when a propellant system exploded at the desert test site. Scaled Composites, now owned by Northrop Grumman Corp is currently appealing a $28,870 state fine for workplace violations in connection with the explosion.

More than 200 potential flyers with an abundance of The Green Stuff are believed to have already paid deposits for the £100k flights, including such luminaries as Victoria Principal, Stephen Hawking and Princess Beatrice. ®


Maybe, just maybe the more people - especially those with money, power etc - who get to see our beautiful, little, blue-green planet from the splendour of the stratosphere - the more people will realise quite how important it is that we don't trash it. Of course, this is purely speculation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gelaran Datuk beri inspirasi

KUALA PILAH: Angkasawan Negara, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Sheikh Mustapha, berkata gelaran Datuk tidak akan mengubah dirinya, sebaliknya menguatkan tekad untuk memberi inspirasi kepada generasi muda meminati bidang sains dan teknologi.

"Saya amat berbangga dan gembira dengan pengiktirafan ini, namun saya masih seperti dulu," katanya selepas menerima Darjah Dato' Setia Negeri Sembilan (DSNS) yang membawa gelaran Datuk daripada Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman sempena Hari Keputeraan baginda Ke-86 di Istana Seri Menanti, dekat sini semalam.

Tokoh Maulidur Rasul Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 dan Tokoh Maal Hijrah 1429 Negeri Sembilan itu ditemani temanya, Dr Halina Mohd Yunus.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar berkata, beliau juga berjanji akan menjalinkan hubungan lebih rapat dan erat dengan kerajaan negeri, terutama dalam membimbing serta mendorong lebih ramai pelajar dari negeri ini berjaya dalam bidang akademik.

Katanya, beliau sudah melawat lebih 200 sekolah dan universiti di seluruh negara bagi memberi ceramah motivasi serta berkongsi pengalaman ketika berada 12 hari di Stesen Angkasa Antara-bangsa (ISS), Oktober tahun lalu.

“Tiada apa yang lebih menggembirakan saya apabila ramai generasi muda, malah kanak-kanak yang baru berusia lima tahun sudah menanam azam mahu menjadi angkasawan negara,” katanya.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar janji akan terus beri motivasi kepada generasi muda

KUALA PILAH: "Tiada apa yang lebih menggembirakan saya apabila ramai generasi muda, malah kanak-kanak yang baru berusia lima tahun sudah menanam azam mahu menjadi angkasawan negara," kata Angkasawan pertama negara, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha.

Beliau berkata, sejak pulang ke tanah air selepas 12 hari berada di Stesen Angkasa Antarabangsa (ISS) Oktober tahun lalu, beliau sudah melawat lebih 200 sekolah dan universiti di seluruh negara bagi memberi ceramah dan berkongsi pengalamannya.

Hasil program itu, ramai di kalangan remaja dan kanak-kanak kini lebih terdedah kepada bidang angkasa dan mula berminat untuk menjadi angkasawan, katanya kepada pemberita selepas menerima Darjah Dato' Setia Negeri Sembilan (DSNS) yang membawa gelaran Datuk di sini hari ini.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, 36, menerima Darjah kebesaran itu daripada Yang Dipertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman sempena Hari Keputeraan baginda Ke-86 di Istana Besar Seri Menanti, di sini.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 36, yang ditemani teman wanitanya, Dr Halina Mohd Yunus, berkata gelaran Datuk tidak akan mengubah dirinya, sebaliknya menguatkan tekad beliau untuk terus memberi inspirasi kepada generasi muda meminati bidang sains dan teknologi.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Datuk" Award For Astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor

"Datuk" Award For Astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor

KUALA PILAH, July 19 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's first astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha is bestowed the "Datuk" title in conjunction with the 86th birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Ja'afar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman on Saturday, which sees a first batch of 90 people conferred decorations and medals.

The 36-year-old orthopaedic surgeon attached to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) receives the Dato' Setia Negeri Sembilan (DSNS) award, which carries the title.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who hails from Seremban, blasted off into space on Oct 10 last year in the Russian Soyuz TMA-11 spaceship carrying three astronauts and spent nine days in the International Space Station (ISS) research facility orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 350 km.

Award recipient: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar (right) being awarded the Darjah Dato' Setia Negri Sembilan, which carries the title ‘Datuk,’ by Tuanku Ja'afar yesterday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Visi, Misi dan Objektif


(1) Visi

Kearah membentuk generasi berwawasan tinggi yang berinovasi dengan penerapan ilmu sains dan teknologi terkini selaras dengan aspirasi untuk menghargai kepelbagaian ilmu Aero Angkasa yang akan memberikan manfaat kepada Malaysia di peringkat antarabangsa.

(2) Misi

Membentuk satu kefahaman yang holistik untuk semua lapisan masyarakat Malaysia tentang kepentingan ilmu dan pengetahuan berkaitan Aero Angkasa dan yang berkaitan dengannya secara kesinambungan yang lestari.

(3) Objektif

Bagi menyokong perkembangan sejagat berkaitan potensi dan peluang di dalam bidang sains Aero Angkasa, kefahaman tersebut dapat dicapai dengan modus operandi berikut: Kesedaran ilmu, aplikasi teknologi serta perkongsian pengalaman serta usaha kearah corak pemikiran yang glokal.

90 Turn Rocket Scientists

IPOH: For a few magical hours, over 90 primary school pupils and their teachers had the chance to play "rocket scientist" yesterday, with guidance from an aerospace engineer from a private university.
It was the second day of the New Straits Times-Newspaper-in-Education Young Inventor's Workshop in Perak, and all they were provided with were empty plastic water bottles, plastic boards, some plasticine, cellophane tape and water.

Nevertheless, the water bottles soon became a fuselage, the boards became fins, the plasticine a ballast, and the water a necessary ingredient to provide preliminary thrust.

At the highlight of the workshop, the participants, who represented 24 schools, saw their "rockets" propelling a distance of up to 100m, from one end of SMK Gunung Rapat's field to the other.

"I've never tried all this before.
"Now I know how a rocket can fly," said Tang Chi Hoe, 11, of SK Cator Avenue.

Despite windy conditions, his group, dubbed "Birds of Paradise", won the top prize when their invention flew the furthest.

At the workshop yesterday, facilitator Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian, who was also an aerospace engineer at Universiti Kuala Lumpur's Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology and a finalist of the Angkasawan programme, explained environmental pollution and the need for renewable energy sources.

He also used simple gadgets to illustrate the use of kinetic, solar, wind and biomass energy to perform tasks such as lighting a bulb and moving a toy car.

The NST-NiE workshop, to be held in Sabah this weekend and Kuala Lumpur the following weekend, is to encourage participants from primary and secondary schools to create inventions which use renewable sources of energy.

"We want the students to have a feel of inventing through these workshops," said NST-NiE assistant manager K. Selvabalan.

It was also hoped that the workshop would encourage students to participate in the Shell-NST Young Inventor's Contest by sending their proposals on an original, workable and environmentally-friendly invention which could be used at home in everyday life, he said.