PETALING JAYA, Sept 29 — Our lives are affected by satellites in many ways including allowing us to connect while cooped up at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s why this year’s World Space Week 2020 (WSW) celebration is aptly themed “Satellites Improve Life,” to shine some light on the importance that these space-borne devices play in our lives.
Astronautical Association of Malaysia (Astro X) president and former Angkasawan Programme trainee Captain Faiz Kamaluddin, told Malay Mail that he hopes Malaysians can enjoy WSW this year with a host of activities planned both physically, and virtually.
“Space is something that everyone can enjoy and we wanted to do something to celebrate it in Malaysia this time for World Space Week.
“We believe this year’s celebrations will be the biggest space-related celebrations to be held in Malaysia with the depth of activities, programmes and workshops that we are offering to the public.”
WSW is celebrated every year from October 4 to October 10 to honour the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition
The WSW festivities in Malaysia are set to be the biggest space-related celebrations in our country’s history, with almost 50 programmes and activities organised by SpaceVIO throughout the week.
SpaceVIO, which stands for Volunteering Involving Organisations for Space, is a consortium of space-minded organisations in Malaysia including Astro X, Scouts Association of Malaysia, UniKL MIAT, Malaysia Space Initiatives and Apadilangit.
Faiz, who is one of the leading people at SpaceVIO, said that the consortium aims to propel the space industry here in Malaysia and invigorate interest in space among Malaysian youth.
“Initially the events planned were supposed to be mainly online, but because of the demand we’ve set up some physical activities for people to take part in too.”
On opening day at Planetarium Negara, to be officiated by Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin, there will be a number of physical activities available for the public such as space exploration workshops, astronomy and telescope workshops and even a lesson in solid fuel rocketry from Cikgu Roket from SpaceS.
If you can’t make it for the physical workshops, you can always participate in the host of virtual events planned with space-themed online quizzes, virtual classes and educational shows streaming online during the week.
Being an avid runner, Faiz also said there will be a virtual run held called the Spatra (Space Ultra) Run, where you can choose to run 50 kilometres or 100 kilometres to win medals and prizes.
Interactive webinars will also be held with current and former Malaysian professionals from the space industry such as Malaysia’s first astrophysicist Datuk Mazlan Othman and Malaysia's first astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha during the week.
“We will also be featuring a bunch of local talents that people may not have heard of but should pay attention to, like Dr Vanajah Siva, a former Angkasawan trainee working in Sweden and Brelveenraj Kaur Rajwant Singh, who represents Malaysia as the National Point of Contact to the United Nations-backed Space Generation Advisory Council.
“They’ve achieved so much in this industry and they can share how they’ve progressed in their space-related careers with our youth.
“That is the main agenda of having all these activities and programmes, to develop our young talent to be future space leaders like them.”
Passionate about inspiring the younger generation to take up a career in space, Faiz said that there will also be hands-on events for young people to take part in across Malaysia as well.
Some of the events for youth include a CanSat (simulation satellite) launch competition in Perak, where competing schools will launch CanSats into the stratosphere using high altitude balloons and even a satellite model design competition at Planetarium Negara on Oct 10.
On October 6, there will also be a special space exploration workshop held for blind and hearing-impaired students at Sekolah Kebangsaan Khas Seremban.
Students aged 10 to 13 can also take part in a five-day virtual course on what it’s like to be an explorer on Mars as they discover the harsh Mars environment and some of the ways humans explore the red planet in the Mars Exploration Class conducted by GoSTEM.
“It should be a great and fun-filled week of events for all Malaysians. I really hope everyone can participate in some way or another, so that we can begin to inspire the youth here and let them know that there is a future in space.”
For more information on the programmes and events lined up for Malaysia’s World Space Week surf over to www.spacevio.org.