From having our first ground station in the seventies, launching our own satellites, using space technologies like remote sensing and even making our own satellites, which does not include all the planned and announced space ports that has yet to materialize, sending a man to outer space only marks a milestone in our march to the cosmos. This march has been well mirrored by the evolution of our national space authority from its beginnings as a unit within a ministry to the full fledged agency it is now. Not many also realized that we have also taken the right step of establishing a commercial astronautics company to ensure our interests in space technology remain viable and useful to the nation.
Yes we got a lucky break when Russia offered a seat on this trip to the ISS as counter trade for our Sukhoi fighter purchase. And with the imminent purchase of a fleet of military helicopters, Russia has again offered another sweetener to launch another Angkasawan to space post 2010. Hopefully this time the trip will be a space stay rather than a space sojourn, though symbolically even this short trip to space has had the same impact to Malaysians as Yuri Gagarin’s short but historic trip to space for the Russians and the world at large as the first man in space. How else can you explain that even the makciks and pakciks in the kampongs are now talking about rockets and other space thingys, March On Malaysia!