Saturday 21.08.2004

Malaysia’s first astronaut will be pilot
or scientist - Roskosmos

MOSCOW, August 20 (Itar-Tass) -- Malaysia’s first astronaut will be either an air pilot or scientist by profession, but the Russian space agency Roskosmos would certainly prefer an air pilot, the agency’s chief, Anatoly Perminov said on Friday.
“This category of astronauts has far fewer problems with adapting themselves to space conditions and with achieving physical fitness,” Perminov explained.
He was speaking after talks with the visiting general director of the Malaysian space agency, Mrs. Mazlan Othman.
For her part Othman said the main purpose of sending a Malaysian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) would be carrying out a research program.
For this reason the question who will be selected for the space mission is still in the discussion phase. Malaysia wants its astronaut to have a previous record as a researcher and at the same time be capable of coping with all flight problems.
Othman said Malaysia’s first flight to the ISS will most probably take place in October 2007. So far 3,700 candidates have filed their applications through the Internet.
All candidates must be older than 21 years of age, have perfect eyesight and be in good physical condition.
The Russian space agency chief said a comprehensive training course lasts about 13 months.
“We shall specify the date of a future flight in the near future. Russia will have to hold negotiations with the other participants in the ISS project on the candidacy of Malaysia’s astronaut. As a rule this process takes no less than a year,” Perminov said.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"