The Angkasawan™ Programme has been identified as a project as an offset agreement between Malaysia and Russia through the purchase of Sukhoi-30MKM fighter jets. Through this package, the Russian government will bear the cost of training and sending off a Malaysian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) by October 2007 inclusive of the backup candidate.
National Space Agency (ANGKASA), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations have been given the responsibility of commissioning the process of selecting the national astronaut. This process is nearing its peak when two out of the four final candidates will be chosen and announced by the YAB Malaysian Prime Minister before they go through the Astronaut Training Program for 18 months in Russia.
The Malaysian people and the country will gain benefits from this program mainly in the fields of science and technology. They include Space Medicine, Aviation Medicine, Life Science, Environmental Science and Physics where scientists are able to involve themselves to create and design experiments that could be carried out in a unique environment. These researchers will benefit selected industries as in the medical and Aerospace Industries while working towards achieving a scientific society.
This will be a pioneer program for this country to cater the next generation into exploring new technologies that is capable of bringing into existence, another advantage for Malaysia to compete in the global arena.