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January 31, 2005 - Malaysia may be hub for space travel

Malaysia may be hub for space travel
BY JOHAN FERNANDEZ

NEW YORK: A leading space authority and a private firm in Florida are eying Malaysia as the regional hub in Asia for space travel.

Disclosing this, Fort Lauderdale businessman Bernhard Schutte said Malaysia was well placed to serve as the hub for space tourism due to its central location.

The Florida Space Authority, which is recognized as the leading space authority in the world, and the US private company, Zero G, are looking into the possibility of bringing space tourism to Malaysia and making it the hub for such travel in the region.

“The technology is all there.

And there is so much potential for space travel that it can be very popular, not only in Malaysia and the region, but for the Middle East market as well,” said the CEO of Digital Media Network Inc, that has a company in Malaysia.

Schutte will be leading a 35-member Florida business delegation to Malaysia at the end of February, which includes Winston Scott, astronaut and executive director of the FSA who had been to space four times.

The authority provides economic development for the state through space-related businesses and educational activities, said Schutte in a telephone interview here.

Also included in the team is Dr. Ray Ferrero, president of Nova South Eastern University, which would also study the prospects of setting up a campus in Malaysia.

It has taken a year to plan the top-level delegation from Florida to visit Malaysia, said Schutte, adding that they would be in Malaysia for a week with visits to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kedah.

The Florida delegation would look into investment and business partnerships in space transportation, space tourism, space education, biotechnology, life sciences and education, oceanography and pharmaceuticals.

Earlier in the week, the Malaysian ambassador to the United States, Datuk Ghazalli Sheikh Abdul Khalid led a delegation to Florida to visit the FSA and other business organizations involved in the business tour of Malaysia.

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