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Malaysia's first astronaut to take off for ISS on Oct. 10
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16:14, June 29, 2007

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The first Malaysian astronautis expected to take off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Oct. 10, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis said here Thursday.

Under the contract, the preliminary launching date was Oct. 2, but Russia had set the new date which might also be changed again,according to the report by Malaysia's national news agency Bernama.

The delay was due, among others, to technical factors like the recent damage to the carbon dioxide filter system in the ISS, he said.

"Everything depends on Russia's discretion. We have been told not to be surprised if there would be further delays," he told a press conference at Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian government would be informed of the official launching date one month ahead, he said before having an audience with the King, Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and the country's two astronaut candidates, Dr Faiz Khaleed and DrSheikh Muszaphar Shukor.

Dr Faiz and Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, who went to Russia on Oct. 9 last year, had completed the theoretical training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Jamaludin said.

Dr Faiz and Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will undergo further training at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, United States,and the European Space Agency (ESA) in Cologne, Germany.

Only one of them will travel to the ISS.

Jamaludin said that the two astronaut candidates would hold discussions with local scientists on the research to be carried out in space.

They would also visit certain schools to help generate the interest of the younger generation on science and technology, especially space science, he said.

He added that he was discussing with several parties on the possibility of bringing a number of school students to Russia to witness the launch of Soyuz rocket carrying Malaysia's first astronaut.

Source: Xinhua

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