Putrajaya - Joining the Russian cosmonauts at the International Space Station (ISS) is not only a rare opportunity for Malaysians but goes to show that they are ready to surmount any challenge.Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this augurs well as in the future Malaysians will be ready to face even more challenges and it is very much part of character building for the nation.
"This is a unique opportunity -- only the extreme few of the world's 6.3 billion population will have the opportunity to venture into space. Now we can really be proud off," he told reporters after meeting the four candidates shortlisted to become Malaysia's astronaut at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here Friday. Also present was Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
The four, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 34, a doctor, Dr Faiz Khaleed, 26, a dentist, S. Vanajah, 35, an engineer and Mohammad Faiz Kamaluddin, 34, a pilot were accompanied by National Space Agency Director General Prof. Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman.The four will leave for Russia soon for the final selection and the selected two will undergo training at Star City in Moscow for 18 months. Out of the two only one will go into space.Dr Mahathir also advised those not selected for the trip to space not to be disappointed as the training and the knowledge that they have gained is still useful.
Dr Mahathir said he is also proud of the fact that about 10,000 people registered for the selection and reflects Malaysian's willingness to take on challenges."When he comes back, obviously we are going to learn a lot from him because he will be doing some scientific experiments when he is out in outer space," he said.Meanwhile, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said at the meeting the former Prime Minister advised them on many things and Dr Mahathir himself is an inspiration - Bernama
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