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Malaysia first Malaysian cosmonaut
 October 10, 2007
First Malaysian cosmonaut on a Russian space mission

awan (cosmonaut) to join a space mission tomorrow.

The 35-year-old orthopaedic surgeon from Seremban will spend 10 days on the International Space Station (ISS).

Joining him are Commander Peggy Whitson from the United States and Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko. The spacecraft that will take them to the ISS will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7.21pm local time (9.21pm Malaysian time).

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was selected based on Malaysia's original recommendation to Roscosmos naming him as the first-choice candidate and Capt Dr Faiz Khaleed, 27, as the second choice.

He said the Roscosmos selection panel studied all reports submitted by the various training units which had prepared the two men for the mission.

The minister told Malaysian journalists covering the space mission that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, Dr Faiz and their respective team members were present when the announcement was made.

He said the selection panel which met for 30 minutes also agreed that Dr Faiz be included in the 2008/09 space mission and allowed to undergo training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow.

Dr Jamaludin said he would inform the Cabinet about the panel's recommendation pertaining to Dr Faiz.

The minister, however, did not rule out the possibility of changes in the crew line-up four hours prior to lift off.

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