National astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor said today his main mission this year is to gather all the nine Muslim astronauts worldwide to form an Islamic Space Agency.
He said he had already met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to discuss how to form the agency when he performed the haj in Mecca last year.
Prince Sultan is a retired officer in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a former astronaut. He is a grandson of King Ibn Saud and is the only Saudi citizen to travel in space and the first Muslim to do so.
“I hope more Muslim astronauts will travel in space and more Muslim aerospace experts can meet and contribute in the fields of science and technology,” he told Bernama after a Batek Modelling exhibition in conjunction with Chinese New year 2009 at the Galeri Seri Endon.
On another related matter, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said he had also met the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Fadillah Yusof to clarify on the allegation that he had amassed wealth from giving talks on his space experience and was waiting for a response whether his contract with the ministry would be continued.
Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was alleged to have charged a fee of RM8,000 per hour for his talks and had amassed RM1.2 million from 150 companies upon his return from the International Space Station (ISS) in October last year.