Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chinese Astronaut Takes Nation’s First Spacewalk

The Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang made the nation’s first spacewalk on Saturday,
floating outside the Shenzhou VII spacecraft for 18 minutes as it orbited the earth.

BEIJING — A Chinese astronaut orbiting the earth lifted himself out of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft Saturday afternoon and performed the nation’s first spacewalk, another milestone in China’s space program.

Zhai Zhigang, 42, pulled himself out of the orbital module about 4:40 p.m. Beijing time, latched himself to a handrail with two safety cords and then waved to a national audience during a live broadcast of the country’s third space mission with an astronaut.

“I am here greeting the Chinese people and the people of the world,” Mr. Zhai said, waving to a camera attached to the module.

The feat was part of China’s effort to establish a space station by 2020 and eventually to land on the moon.

For the Chinese government, which devotes extensive media coverage to its space missions with astronauts, the achievement was another step toward establishing the country as an economic and technological superpower.

About two hours later, the astronauts released a small monitoring satellite.

This was the country’s third human space mission in five years. Before China, only the United States and the Soviet Union, and later Russia, had sent people into space, though astronauts from other countries have joined the missions.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

US Space Tourist to follow Father into Orbit

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov (C), US astronaut Michael Fincke (R) and his compatriot, space tourist Richard Garriott

STAR CITY, Russia (AFP) — US multi-millionaire businessman and space tourist in training Richard Garriott said Tuesday it was his lifelong dream to go into orbit, following in the footsteps of his astronaut father.

"Every youngster in the world" wants to fly into space, Garriott said at the Star City cosmonaut training centre near Moscow, where he is preparing for an October 12 launch to the International Space Station.

But "growing up with both a father who was an astronaut as well as all of my neighbours who were either astronauts or NASA engineers, that dream sunk in even more deeply," added Garriott, the son of US astronaut Owen Garriott.

Garriot said he had received spaceflight advice from his father, who in 1973 spent two months aboard Skylab, the first orbiting space station, and then returned to orbit aboard the space shuttle 10 years later.

Richard Garriott paid more than 30 million dollars (20 million euros) to be launched into space from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to Space Adventures, the US-based company that organised his trip.

During his voyage with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov and US astronaut Michael Fincke, Garriott will monitor communication systems, according to the Star City training centre.

Garriott, who made his fortune developing computer games, said he hoped to find ways to make space travel profitable and financially self-sustaining.

"As an entrepreneur, I believe strongly that space is a place where businesses can and should be profitable," he said.

With his planned launch, Garriott hopes to join the exclusive club of space tourists who have paid millions to go into orbit.

The five space tourists so far have been American Dennis Tito, South African Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen of the United States, Iranian-born Anousheh Ansari and Hungarian-born Charles Simonyi.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Angkasawan says Space Programme should concentrate on Education

KUANTAN: The country’s space programme should focus on education and ensure sound basic knowledge in mathematics and science subjects at the earliest age possible, Angkasawan Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor said.

He added that there was more to the space programme than just sending people into space.

“It is about how to get the technology, acquiring the knowledge and fuelling the interest and imagination of the young.

“It is about moulding a strong grassroots who have a good grasp of mathematics and science,” he said after delivering a talk to students at Shahputra College here recently.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar agreed that the country should postpone any plans to send another Malaysian to space and, instead, concentrate on having a more objective plan that would define the nation’s direction to develop its space programme.

Here you go: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar (second from left) busy signing autographs for his young fans after his talk.

He urged the Government, especially the Education and Science, Technology and Innovation ministries, to play a bigger role including creating job opportunities for those with a background in aeronautical engineering.

“There are about 450 aeronautical engineers in the country but only 10% are working as aeronautical engineers. The rest are working in other lines,” he said.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar cited the Korean government as an example, saying that the country had sent an astronaut much later than Malaysia but already had a five-plan space programme.

“The pace is going very slowly for Malaysia. I get frustrated at times,” he said.

However, the 35-year-old orthopaedic surgeon would not be alone in his crusade to get the nation interested in space, science and mathematics as he planned to form an association with 59 other astronaut candidates who had vied to become the first Malaysian to be sent to space.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said it would be called the Angkasawan Association of Malaysia and members would chip in to deliver talks and conduct activities that would motivate youngsters.

On the results of experiments carried out in space, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor said the findings were expected to be released early next month at a gathering that would attended by local and international scientists.

He described the findings as promising.

Earlier in his talks, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said that if the Government wanted to send another astronaut to space, it should be something more challenging than what he had done.

“They could send a woman astronaut, do a space walk or stay for a longer duration,” he said.

When fielding questions from the audience, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said there were two things he missed most when he was in space - a shower and the smell of nature.

The good-looking angkasawan added that he still had two dreams to fulfil - to be a pilot by 2013 and to work with children in Africa.

By Roslina Mohamad from The Star On-line Thursday, 28th August 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Workshop on Microgravity Sciences

2nd & 3rd September 2008. Agensi Angkasa Negara (ANGKASA) organized a workshop on Microgravity Sciences held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). The event was officiated by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili.

Prof. Datuk Dr. Mazlan delivered the key note address titled 'Highlighting the Achievement of Science Microgravity Programme'. She explained about the procedures and challenges ANGKASA encountered during the Angkasawan programme. The experiences learned on our space experiments were invaluable for our nation and local scientists.

With Prof. Datuk Dr. Mazlan

Datuk Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor then gave a presentation about his time in space conducting microgravity scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS). It was a spirited talk by him urging the government to continue our pursuit in the field of aerospace and science.

Prof. David M.Klaus on possible future collaborations with NASA

The objective of the two-day workshop, which gathered 150 local and foreign participants, including 20 who presented research papers, was to study and discuss the experiments carried out by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar.

With Mej. Dr. Faiz Khaleed

I had a great time at the convention and learned a lot about the progress and status of our space experiments and the effects of microgravity on scientific experiments in general. I would like to wish all Muslims 'Selamat Berpuasa' and may you have great Ramadhan this year.

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Bengkel Sains Mikrograviti

Bersama Mejar Dr. Faiz Khaleed di PICC

Bengkel Sains Mikrograviti 2 – 3 September 2008 Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya Putrajaya, 1 September 2008- Y.B. Datuk Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Menteri Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi Malaysia (MOSTI) akan merasmikan Bengkel Sains Mikrograviti pada 2 September 2008 di Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya (PICC) anjuran Agensi Angkasa Negara (ANGKASA) dengan kerjasama Bahagian Bioteknologi Kebangsaan (BIOTEK). Bengkel Sains Mikrograviti akan berlangsung selama dua hari iaitu pada 2-3 September 2008 akan menghimpunkan seramai 150 orang peserta dalam dan luar negara. Di samping itu seramai 20 pembentang dari dalam dan luar negara akan membentangkan hasil kajian mereka. Fokus utama bengkel berkenaan adalah untuk membincangkan hasil-hasil penyelidikan yang telah dikendalikan oleh Angkasawan Negara Dato Dr.Sheikh Mushzapar Shukor semasa beliau berada di Stesen Angkasa Antarabangsa selama 12 hari. Seperti sedia maklum, Dato Dr. Sheikh Mushzapar Shukor telah dilancarkan ke Stesen Angkasa Antarabangsa menggunakan TMA 11 pada 10 Oktober 2007 telah diamanahkan untuk melaksanakan beberapa eksperimen yang telah dicadangkan oleh beberapa saintis tempatan iaitu seperti ‘Cell in Space’, ‘Microbes in Space’ dan ‘Protein in Space’. Sekembalinya Angkasawan Negara ke bumi pada 21 Oktober 2008, kesemua bahan eksperimen telah dipulangkan semula kepada setiap saintis untuk penganalisisan. Setelah hampir 10 bulan menjalankan penganalisisan, kini tibalah masa untuk para saintis tempatan dan luar negara untuk mengumumkan penemuan serta hasil kajian sains mikrograviti yang telah dikendalikan oleh Dato Dr.Sheikh Mushaphar Shukur kepada pengetahuan orang ramai. Bengkel Sains Mikrograviti telah menetapkan beberapa objektif untuk dicapai. Antaranya ialah untuk memberi peluang kepada para saintis yang terlibat dalam misi Program Angkasawan Negara untuk mengumumkan hasil kajian masing–masing kepada saintis tempatan yang lain. Di samping itu, bengkel berkenaan akan menjadi asas untuk meneroka peluang kerjasama sama ada di peringkat kebangsaan atau antarabangsa disamping merancang masa depan dalam bidang kajian mikrograviti. Selain itu, bengkel ini juga memberi peluang kepada saintis–saintis Malaysia yang hadir untuk menjalin kerjasama dalam Eksperimen Sains Mikrograviti dengan institusi luar negara.

Dewan sidang di Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya Putrajaya

Bengkel ini juga boleh dijadikan platform kepada saintis – saintis tempatan dalam pelbagai bidang untuk mencari peluang kerjasama menjalin eksperimen mikrograviti dengan beberapa negara lain seperti Rusia, Jepun, Eropah dan Amerika Syarikat. Bengkel tersebut juga akan membuka ruang kepada peserta untuk mengetahui sejauh mana kajian-kajian yang telah dijalankan oleh saintis kita memberi manfaat dalam pelbagai bidang khususnya di bidang perubatan. Untuk maklumat lanjut mengenai bengkel ini, sila kunjungi laman web rasmi Agensi Angkasa Negara (ANGKASA) atau menghubungi pegawai tersebut : Nama : Mhd Fairos Asillam No tel : 03 – 8888668 / 019-3353539 Faks : 03 - 88883480