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Special Report

Malaysians to Blast off to ISS

Two Malaysians are undergoing training at Star City in preparation for a flight to the International Space Station (ISS) this Autumn. They are 34-year-old Muszafar Shukor and 26-year-old Faiz Khaleed. Malaysia's Prime Minister, Mr. Abdullah Badawi, recently named orthopedic surgeon Dr. Muszafar and army dentist Dr. Faiz as the final two Malaysian Angkasawan (astronaut) candidates. Over 10,000 applicants applied for the chance to be Malaysia's first astronaut in space. The project was conceived back in 2003 when Russia agreed to send a Malaysian to the space station as part of a billion-dollar deal for the purchase of 18 Sukhoi 30-MKM fighter jets.

The two give thumbs up after a parabolic flight to experience zero gravity in the Moscow region in June, 2007 after a year of training at Star City.

Sheikh Muszafar, who is an orthopedic doctor, said he was realizing a boyhood dream: "I feel honored and blessed to be picked," he told reporters.

"I've always dreamt to go to space since I was 10 years old. My favorite TV programes have been Star Trek and the Star Wars movies." The two will go to the USA for a final month’s training with NASA.

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