Monday, November 23, 2009

Angkasawan Programme Opened Up A Host Of Opportunities, Says Ongkili

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's Angkasawan (Space) programme opened up opportunities between Malaysia and international space agencies to conduct microgravity science experiments in the country, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said two agencies offered to share their expertise with Malaysia, namely the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Federal Space Agency of Russia (ROSCOSMOS).

"In the Angkasawan programme in 2007, two experiments on the crystallization of proteins were successful, resulting in patent and trademark applications.

"Following this success, we are now collaborating with the Japanese on utilisation of high quality growth experiments," he told reporters when met at the Second Workshop on Microgravity Sciences here Monday.

According to Ongkili, the collaboration would span over three years an entailed sending 24 enzymes and proteins to be crystallized in space.

On the collaboration with ROSCOSMOS, Ongkili said Malaysian scientists would be able to conduct microgravity experiments in space using the Bio-Satellite Programme under the Institute of Bio-Medical Problems (IBMP) of Russia.

He also urged the National Space Agency (Angkasa) and the National Biotechnology Division (Biotek) to undertake microgravity research as an important development programme under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, which would then be tied-up with Malaysia's second Angkasawan programme in the next five years.

"But the second mission has to be significantly different from the first one in terms of bringing direct benefits to the country's economy," he added.

-- BERNAMA

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