Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft was launched in Kazakhstan last night at 9.21pm Malaysian time. The honour of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, an orthopedic surgeon, being the first Malaysian to be in space is well received in Malaysia. He is scheduled to perform medical experiments in space. He will conduct research which can lead to significant short- and long-term advances in many fields such as:
Cells in space: To study the effects of microgravity and space radiation on cancer cells with the aim of learning more about cell behaviour and activity, and tissue repair;
Microbes in space: To study the effects of microgravity and space radiation on bacterial growth, drug resistance and the genetic mechanisms controlling them; and
Protein crystallisation in space: To crystallise two proteins to study their molecular structures, and obtain new information for future industrial applications.