Angkasawan Launches Book

Malaysia’s first Angkasawan, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al Masrie has launched a book depicting his story and journey of being the first Malaysian to reach the space.

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, officiated the book launching ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The book, entitled Reaching for the Stars, is originally a piece of work by Sheikh Muszaphar’s younger brother, the late Sheikh Mustapha Shukor, before his unfortunate death, few days after Muszaphar’s landing from the outer space. Dr Muszaphar decided to publish the book as a tribute to his brother’s work.

Angkasawan Dr Sheikh Muzaffar BookOn October 2007, Sheikh Muszaphar, together with a number of crew, were launched on Russian’s Soyuz TMA-11 to the International Space Station and returned to earth 11 days later through a capsule. Muszaphar was among the 2 Malaysians selected for the Angkasawan program in Russia, the other being Captain Dr. Faiz Khaleed (now Mejar).

The program was part of the agreement between the Malaysia and the Russia governments when a multi billion purchase deal of 18 Russian Sukhoi fighter jets was struck.

An orthopaedic surgeon by practice, Sheikh Muszaphar also conducted some key research and scientific experiments in the space. Some of them are:

  • The study of microgravity effects and space radiation on cells, motility of bacteria, drug resistance and changes in genes

  • Protein crystallization in space to compare the crystal growth of lipase (water-soluble enzyme that catalyzes chemical reaction) on earth with that grown on microgravity

  • Demonstration of the effect of microgravity on the motion of spinning objects, and shape of food and drinking liquid

According to Sheikh Muszaphar, the proceeds from the book selling will go into funding his late brother’s children, as what he promised before.

Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar works at Hospital Universiti Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, HUKM, and is due to return to its full time employment in the near future.

Image: Utusan Malaysia

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