Malaysia hopes to send another astronaut to ISS in 2010

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Moscow, Nov 9 (UNI) Malaysia is in talks with Russia on sending a second cosmonaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2010-11, Malaysian Minister of science and technology Jamaludin Jarjis said yesterday.

''We could achieve success together with Russia, and Malaysia will make its contribution to the peaceful development of space technology,'' Mr Jarjis was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

A Russian Soyuz TMA-11 spaceship carrying members of the 15th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), including Malaysia's first astronaut, was launched on October 10 and landed in Kazakhstan on October 21.

The crew comprised Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, and Malaysia's Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.

Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), said his agency would help Malaysia to buy the Soyuz capsule used by the 15th expedition and also train a second Malaysian cosmonaut, to be sent into space some time after 2010.

He said, ''this would be the first time that Russia had sold a space capsule to any country, so it would take some time to iron out all the details.'' Members of the expedition carried out a series of experiments, including a study of human cardiovascular activity and sleep functions, as well as research into the growth and development of plants in the absence of gravity, earth remote sensing, and a series of biotechnological experiments.

Russia and Malaysia concluded a 900 million dollar deal in 2003, stipulating that Malaysia would buy 18 Russian Su-30MKM Flanker fighters and that Russia would prepare and launch a Malaysian astronaut toward the ISS.


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