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The National Planetarium started as the Planetarium Division in the Prime Minister's Department in 1989. The construction of the National Planetarium complex began in 1990 and was completed in 1993. A soft launch to the public began in May 1993 and it was officially opened by the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, on 7 February 1994.

Taking three years to build, the National Planetarium complex houses a tilted dome theatre at its very heart. The unique design of the theatre posed a great challenge to the project architects, engineers and building contractors. The exacting requirements of the planetarium and the large-format film projectors posed even more formidable challenges. Many difficulties had to be overcome and it took two years for all equipment and exhibits to be completely commissioned.

In spite of the difficulties, the National Planetarium has been able to carry out several successful educational projects with public schools and the public. Now the National Planetarium plays a crucial role in promoting space science to society at large and leading Malaysia towards the development of space science.

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