By Shahfizal Musa
Pix Mohd Azlan Shah Jaafar
PUTRAJAYA, 16 Nov. 2011- Developing countries have been urged to find their own niche in space exploration technology with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) committed to facilitate international cooperation between developing and developed countries for the advancement of space exploration.
Director of UNOOSA, Prof Dr Mazlan Othman said developing countries should find their own niche in space exploration technology.
The UN, she said, wants a level playing field in space exploration. She was speaking at the opening of the United Nations Experts Meeting on Human Space Technology at The Pullman Hotel here today.
The meeting hosted by The Institute of Space Science (ANGKASA) of the National University of Malaysia (UKM) is to promote the participation of developing countries in space exploration. About 140 participants from 20 countries, mostly researchers and scientists are attending the four day conference which ends on Friday, Nov 18.
The conference is a collaboration between UKM and several other space Agencies notably NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency), Russian Federal Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
“When we talk about the human space exploration agenda you tend to think about NASA or Russia only or else we think about the Europeans. The UN is trying to make other countries of the world benefit from their success,” she said.
Prof Mazlan said that it is possible for developing countries to participate in Micro gravity research because innovation is not linked to a country’s GDP.
She quoted Malaysia as an example of a developing country that have participated in space research. Another example she gave was Canada which had cornered a niche in space exploration.
Canada does not spend huge amounts on space exploration but it focuses on space robotics technology. Now the entire International Space Station is dependent on the space robotic arm developed by Canada, she said.
China which is scheduled to have its very own space station in 2020 have already announced its full commitment to international cooperation for space exploration.
Present at the opening ceremony were Vice Chancellor of UKM, Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin and Director of ANGKASA UKM, Prof Dr Mohd Alauddin Mohd Ali