Malaysian spaceman to continue training despite fund crunch

April 23rd, 2008 - 12:52 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 23 (IANS) The training of army doctor Faiz Khaleed to become an astronaut will continue while Malaysia reviews its ambitious space programme, says the government. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said the government was analysing the “cost benefit” of the first space mission, and whether it should go on, according to the Star newspaper Wednesday.

“If financial problems are an obstacle, we may have to think of other options. The space mission may be postponed but we want to continue with the training for the astronaut,” Najib told reporters Tuesday.

Najib was commenting on reports that the country’s space programme looked to be “as good as grounded” after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili Monday said there was no money left for it.

In the first phase of the programme, Sheikh Muszaphar Sheikh Shukor and two other astronauts blasted into space in a Russian-built Soyuz 11 rocket from Baikonour in Kazakhstan Oct 10 last year.

It was partly funded by the deal related to the purchase of Sukhoi SU30MKM fighter jets from the Russian government.

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