First Malaysian goes to space!

11 10 2007

At 9:22pm on Oct 10th, the very first Malaysian astronaut, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, blasted off to the International Space Station(ISS) along with 2 companions: American astronaut Peggy Whitson and a Russian astronaut Yuri Malenchenko. Although I missed the live cast, thanks to the ever resourceful YouTube I managed to grab hold of a newscast of this phenomenon from Russia. To tell you the truth, I don’t see anything great about getting the first Malaysian into space but after watching the video with Dr Sheikh donning the spacesuit with the Malaysian flag, I have to admit a sense of pride went through my veins.

As the newscaster puts it, this is a unique mission where the crew will be conducting a series of experiments on the effects of microgravity and space radiation on cells and genes. Dr Sheikh will be there for 11 days conducting medical experiments which scientists have prepared for 3 years. Its really a waste that Dr Sheikh will only be there for such a short period of time after almost a whole year of training but hey, its a start to hopefully more space initiatives to come!

I am actually inspired to try conducting some experiments in space just to see how the environment will cause experiments to return different results from those conducted on Earth, which of course is a weak reason which will never convince anyone into sending me to space. I haven’t heard of astronauts being sent to space on the premise of experience and curiosity. OH well.. maybe I will get the opportunity in the far future when space travel becomes a norm for us citizens of Earth.

Those of you who know me know that I think people who travel to space are insane to risk their lives and I’ve even said I’d never travel to space. It just seems too risky even though there are more fatal car accidents than space crashes. Same analogy to how people fear flying more than driving. But, after watching the video, there is an impulse within me to be part of this space program. Maybe its Peggy Whitson, a woman travelling to space for the 2nd time! Wow, 2 times.. she must be really smart to be stationed there for 6 months conducting experiments and doing space exploration. In fact, she’ll be making 3 trips into outer space in this program. I’m really curious about what her discoveries will be.

Do you think she’ll catch glimpses of alien flying saucers? Ok ok before I veer off into neverending conspiracies, here’s the news report!

Dr Sheikh will be back in 11 days, hopefully he’ll return with lots of interesting research findings (and records of some alien sightings!! ^^;;;). Do us proud Dr Sheikh!

Side note:
Wow, did you see HOW tight they were all seated? Did I just hear that they’ll take 2 days to reach the ISS? Okay, no more space travel for me until they create some spacious comfy first class cosmo seats. I can’t even stand 18 hours on an economy class airplane, what more HALF the space for 48 hours. @_@…

Links you might want to check out:
The Malaysian cosmonauts’ blog
-> Read all about their training process and experience. Very tough and rigorous.

Expedition no.16 to ISS

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7 responses

11 10 2007
Yuhang

eh, i always tot that the first malaysian will be me or someone who should be useful in the field of eating bbq pork in space

12 10 2007
Yong Hwee

Pretty cool! Good for him, and the country.

12 10 2007
Chen Chow

Thanks, Su Yuen for the clip!

I would definitely think that this mission would help to propel Malaysia’s brand name to the world. It is a good way to bring up the national image, and also more importantly, hopefully it would bring a lot more attention on space for the Malaysian youth.

The special channel on Astro for space this fortnight would be a good way to educate Malaysian on various info and knowledge on space.

12 10 2007
bitbot

@Yuhang: Interesting comment you got there. Do you think if a Singapore sent a Chinese up to space, the Malays and Indians in Singapore would have the same reaction?

@Yong Hwee: Thanks! This trip has definitely brought some international attention to Malaysia.

@Chen Chow: I’m glad Astro is taking this initiative. However, I hope that this is not just a spur of the moment kind of fever thing. Hopefully it will instead kickstart a long-term initiative by the Malaysian government for space travel, technology and exploration.

12 10 2007
Yuhang

they might, but not the malays, they dun eat pork what

14 10 2007
Chen Chow

Su Yuen, share with you this blog on ISS of mine. http://chenchow.blogspot.com/2007/10/international-space-station.html

15 10 2007
bitbot

Hey Chen Chow! Thanks for sharing.

There’s been a lot of criticism going around among the public on spending so much government money just to send one Malaysian into space to “visit” the ISS. Although that may be true, its something needed to spark interest in the Space technology industry. Imagine if we didn’t send a Malaysian into space, surely there wouldn’t be so much knowledge brought to the public about it.

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