Malaysian scientists to upgrade their space qualifications in Russia

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Malaysia is sending a group of scientists to Russia for advanced training at the country's leading institutes. The group "will attend special courses in space medicine at the medical school of Moscow State University and the Institute of Biomedical Problems at the Russian Academy of Sciences," says the statement of the Malaysian National Space Agency.

The group of three scientists will arrive in Moscow on June 13. During the theoretical part of their training, Russian specialists will share their experience in space medicine. The practical part includes visits to the spacecraft Vostok, Voskhod and Soyuz, where the Malaysian scientists will apply their new knowledge in a situation simulating work in the orbit.

The decision to orbit a Malaysian citizen was made in 2003 by Mahathir Mohamad, then prime minister of the country. Initially, the name of the first Malaysian astronaut was to be made public by the end of 2004 but it was postponed because of the shortage of specialists in medical-biological examinations.

"We will announce the names of the first two astronauts by year-end," said Dr. Mazlan Othman, director of the National Space Agency. "Only one of them will be put on the mission, while the second candidate should be ready to step in in case of emergencies before launching."

In the last few years Malaysia has been energetically cooperating with the Russian Space Agency and the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center in the framework of its space program.

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