Angkasawan Day!

AngkasawanFIVE YEARS AGO on this day (10 October 2007), Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian to go to space. He travelled in the Russian Soyuz-FG rocket (with crewmates American astronaut Peggy Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko) that blasted off from the launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan at 5:22pm Moscow time (9:22pm Malaysian time) heading to the International Space Station.

That Wednesday afternoon, I was in our Moscow home with my daughter and our German neighbour Kathrin and her 3-year old daughter Carolin; all eyes on the TV, watching the launch and praying that all went well.

I continued watching all night long, with various news channels repeating the news throughout the hours. After all, this was not a daily occurrence!

News

The Soyuz launch received wide coverage from numerous television channels.

It was indeed a proud day for all Malaysians. Perhaps this date will be officially called Angkasawan Day, just as Russia has Cosmonautics Day on 12 April to commemorate Yuri Gagarin’s first ever manned flight to space in 1961.

Some memorable moments with Angkasawan Dr. Sheikh and Dr. Faiz Khaleed…

Our first meeting with the duo at the Hari Raya do at the Malaysian Embassy in Moscow      on 23 October 2006.

Our first meeting with the duo at the Hari Raya do at the Malaysian Embassy in Moscow on 23 October 2006.

They were both guests at our Chinese New Year open house on 18 Feb 2007.

We met them again on several other occasions after that (27 Oct 2007; 11 Nov 2007).

We met them again on several other occasions after that (27 Oct 2007; 11 Nov 2007).

Dr Sheikh was in space for 10 days and returned to Earth on 21 October 2007, and home a hero.  He returned to Moscow in November to attend the Inauguration Ceremony of the Cosmonauts at  Star City on 8 Nov 2007.

Dr Sheikh was in space for 10 days and returned to Earth on 21 October 2007, and home a hero. He returned to Moscow in November to attend the Inauguration Ceremony of the Cosmonauts at Star City on 8 Nov 2007.

The following night, Dr. Sheikh turned up at our home for a chat. The very down-to-earth angkasawan autographed some photos for us.

The following night, Dr. Sheikh turned up at our home for a chat. The very down-to-earth angkasawan autographed some photos for us.

A real life historic figure right in our living room, signing a copy of The Moscow Times newspaper dated 22 October 2007 that front-paged his successful return from the ISS.

A real life historic figure right in our living room, signing a copy of The Moscow Times newspaper dated 22 October 2007 that front-paged his successful return from the ISS.

Meeting Dr Sheikh again at his home during Raya on 31 Aug 2011. Also met his lovely wife Datin Dr Halina Mohd Yunos and their newborn baby Sophea Isabella who shares the same birth date as our older daughter.

Meeting Dr Sheikh again at his home during Raya on 31 Aug 2011. Also met his lovely wife Datin Dr Halina Mohd Yunos and their newborn baby Sophea Isabella who shares the same birth date as our older daughter.

Happy Angkasawan Day!

My previous encounters with astronauts:

1. Meeting the First Muslim Astronaut (1993)

2. 30th Anniversary of Moon Landing, 1999

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s