Remember how the whopping $30 million tax-payers money evaporated into thin air by sending a Malaysian space tourist as part of the “controversial” $1 billion Russian arms deal back in Oct 2007? Some said the space tourist idea was never part of the original plan but since the enormous amount of $1 billion somehow contained hanky-panky elements (opposition Anwar Ibrahim claimed so during his campaign). Thus the bright idea of blasting a Malay tourist into the space hoping to divert the attention away, not to mention the potential of “feel-good” factor amongst the ethnic-Malay which could be translated into votes for the National Front coalition parties.
Fast-forward six months later the space tourist back-fire. Not only the National Front lost five states in addition to the prized two-third majority but its two states, Perlis and Trengganu were embroiled in government-palace crisis, so much so that Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s was humiliated when his preferred candidates for the Chief Minister’s position were rejected point-blank. Fortunately the country didn’t manage to buy (and waste another $100 million) the damn whole Russian Soyuz TMA-11 Space Rocket, courtesy of another freaking good idea from former Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Jamaluddin Jarjis.
I’m not sure if the government has finally awaken from its’ arrogance dream but its’ everyone’s hope that the struggling government would not send the second space tourist again. If the government (how about you?) still adamant and stubborn about this space tourist and can’t live without it, there’s another cheaper alternative.
Just two months after aerospace designer Burt Rutan and billionaire Richard Branson unveiled a model of SpaceShipTwo which is being built for Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism company, another developer namely Xcor Aerospace revealed it’s rocket ship – The Lynx. Expected to begin flying in 2010 “The Lynx” is designed to take off from a runway like a normal plane, reach a top speed of Mach 2 and an altitude of 200,000 feet. At only $200,000 per person for the ride, it’s definitely an affordable access to space for individuals and researchers.
There you are Mr. Prime Minister, the latest tip in cost-saving. Instead of spending another $30 million, of which you can send 150 persons instead of one, you now need to spend a fraction of $200,000 only. It’s good to hear that the Prime Minister has finally admitted his “biggest mistake” in disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning on the Internet which was seized by the opposition. Now he knows the power of the bloggers so start respecting them.
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