Eight left in space race, only one woman in this select group


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 09 Feb 2006

PETALING JAYA: Eight candidates have been short-listed for the Malaysian Astronaut programme and they will now have to go for a one-on-one interview with a select panel of experts. 

They are: 

  • Malaysia Airlines pilot Mohammed Faiz Kamaluddin; 

  • AirAsia pilot Kelvin Lim Hock Seong; 

  • Automotive designer Mohd Bostami Ahmad; 

  • Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan medical officer Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor; 

  • Royal Malaysian Armed Forces dental surgeon Faiz Khaleed; 

  • Esso Malaysia Bhd machinery engineer Muhammad Husaini Hashim; 

  • Engineer and project manager Norazlan Shah Mahadi; and,  

  • Senior quality engineer S. Vanajah, who is the sole female candidate. 

    The candidates have just completed a series of medical, aero-physiological and psychological tests by a technical panel.  

    Best eight: One of these eight — (from left) Mohd Bostami Ahmad, Kelvin Lim Hock Seong, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, S. Vanajah, Muhammad Husaini Hashim, Mohammed Faiz Kamaluddin, Faiz Khaleed and Norazlan Shah Mahadi — will become the first Malaysian to go into space.

    They will go through another selection round to pick four candidates to be sent to Russia next month for a comprehensive two-week medical test at the Russian Space Agency.  

    Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will announce the names of the four candidates in the middle of next month. 

    Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the select panel, chaired by former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar, would look at their personal fitness, personality, spirit and state of preparedness, including family support. 

    “Having completed the medical, physiological and psychological tests, they will be interviewed and personally assessed by the select panel,” he said when announcing the names of the candidates here yesterday. 

    Dr Jamaluddin said the select panel would receive input from the Russian technical evaluation committee before picking the two candidates to undergo an 18-month training programme at the Russian Space Agency in Star City, Moscow. 

    One will get the chance to spend seven to 10 days in space in October next year with a group of cosmonauts.  

    The candidates will also have to undergo medical tests, including neurology and adaptation to micro gravity conditions. 

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will announce the names of the two successful candidates in April. 

    Members of the select panel are Air Force chief Jen Datuk Seri Nik Ismail Nik Mohamed, Multimedia Universiti president Prof Datuk Dr Gauth Jasmon and former Tenaga Nasional Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali. 

    Related Stories:Sole woman candidate elated at being picked 

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