Friday, July 31, 2009

2 Awesome covers from Malaysia!

Many thanks to Khor Kok Keong for sending these 2 awesome covers from Perak, Malaysia!

The stamps and miniature sheet franked on the covers belong to the "National Angkasawan Programme" series, issued on 21 Oct 2008.

The Angkasawan Programme was the Malaysian national programme to send the first Malaysian to space. It was part of an offset agreement between Malaysia and Russia in relation to Malaysia’s purchase of 18 Russian-made Sukhoi-30MKM fighter jets at a cost of US$900 million.

Under this agreement, the Russian government agreed to train two Malaysians, one of whom will make the journey with two other cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz space craft that will rendezvous with the International Space Station, which is in orbit around the Earth at an altitude of approximately 360 km. The Angkasawan will carry out scientific researches on board the space station. The Russian Government will bear all the costs estimated at US$26 million.

The Malaysian astronaut is officially called the Angkasawan, which means astronaut in the Malaysian language. The government set the main objectives of the program as uplifting the national image and instilling in the younger generation greater interest in mathematics and science.
On 10 Oct 2007, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian in space.

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