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Chinese Malaysian From Johor Is NASA’s Deputy Chief Technologist

Chinese Malaysian From Johor Is NASA’s Deputy Chief Technologist

Florence Tan builds advanced equipment for NASA’s spacecrafts and rovers.

Fernando Fong

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A Malaysian, Florence Tan from Muar, Johor, has been appointed Deputy Chief Technologist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

For context, the Chief Technologist is the most senior technology position at NASA.

Tan has worked with NASA for many years and has been in charge of designing rovers and spaceships.

She had participated in the Cassini mission (Saturn), in the Mars Curiosity Rover and the Dragonfly mission, among others.

Her latest achievement was shared on social media by Richard Ker, Chief Marketing Officer of drone company Aerodyne Malaysia.

He wrote on Twitter, narrating Tan’s story from a humble beginning in Malaysia to studying in the United States and then working with NASA.

Ker said her achievement would inspire the younger generation in our country.

Inspired By American Science Fiction

Tan wanted to be a professor as a child, but after watching the sci-fi TV series Star Trek, she decided to become an aerospace engineer.

She left Malaysia at the age of 18 to study in the United States until she obtained a master’s and a doctorate in electrical engineering.

Tan worked as an intern at the Goddard Space Flight Center, one of NASA’s primary research centres, in 1985 and then officially became a full-time employee of the centre after graduating in 1986.

Homecoming

Ker revealed that she is expected to come to Malaysia in the second half of this year.

Chen Weimin is married and has two children. Although she has been away from Malaysia for a long time, she still speaks fluent Mandarin.

Spirit Of 1Malaysia

Ker’s tweet has been reposted and commented on by many netizens.

Netizens have left comments praising Tan’s outstanding achievements, which is the pride of Malaysia and the Muar people.

Some netizens hope that the Malaysian government could recruit Tan and set up a space agency similar to NASA in Malaysia.

Others noted that she is an alumni of Kuantan MRSM (MARA Boarding School) which has produced some notable graduates.

Chasing The NASA Dream

In 2020, a 20-year-old Malaysian, Azhar Ali, stole the limelight when he tweeted that he received a scholarship from NASA.

He claimed that NASA named him as one of their Citizen Scientists for scoring in the top 1% of their Artemis Student Challenge Programme.

NASA’s citizen science projects are collaborations between scientists and interested members of the public.

Even Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was prime minister at that time, congratulated him for the achievement.

It was a short-lived joy for the nation when Azhar said he was a scam victim.

READ MORE: [UPDATED] 20YO M’sian NASA Scholarship Recipient Said He Could Be A Scam Victim


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