May 22, 2006
We pay you send
MOSCOW — Malaysia has signed a contract with Russia to send an astronaut to the international space station next year, Russian officials said Friday.
The deal was part of a larger arrangement that also foresees Malaysia buying some Russian Su-30 MKM fighter jets, said officials from Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-controlled arms export agency.
Two Malaysian astronauts will be chosen from a group that includes two doctors, a pilot and an engineer to prepare at Russia's cosmonaut-training facilities for the September 2007 flight.
The ITAR-Tass news agency said the entire deal would be worth about $1 billion.
Russia's space agency has complemented scarce state funding in recent years with revenues from commercial flights for space tourists. It also has courted other nations looking to send their citizens into space.