Thursday, October 04, 2007

Astrocannot is also Cosmocannot

The mainstream media has been referring to our angkasawan, Sheikh Muzhaphar Shukor, as an Astronaut. Even alternative news portal Malaysiakini bought the bull (although they cheekily added the "part time model" reference to their headline). Refer to the earlier post: Our Malaysian Astrocannot for details.

Then bloggers found out that NASA calls him a Space Flight Participant. That apparently means space tourist. To an average joe like me, that means baggage. The Space Flight Participant moniker opened the floodgates of public opinion against the "Nasional Space Program". Malaysians were outraged that we had spent USD30 million to send a man on what is essentially, a joyride to space. And we sounded our displeasure... loudly.

Obviously, our lamentations fell upon the ear of Science, Techology and Innovations Minister Encik Jamaludin Jarjis, prompting him to blurt out:

Malaysia's first "angkasawan" (space traveller) will be recognised as a cosmonaut by the Russian space authorities. He said that an official recognition ceremony for the angkasawan as a cosmonaut would be held in Moscow on Nov 11 following his return from space on Oct 21.

"Some countries might question this, but to me, it is not important. What matters is that the candidate was selected and trained by Russia and the country recognises him as a true cosmonaut."

"The Russians themselves had told our man (angkasawan) that he is a cosmonaut, and that's the end of the story." - Bernama
Really, Minister? Is that really the end of the story? Have you told the Russians that?

I did a quick check at the Russian Federal Space Agency or ROSCOSMOS' website. It's the Russian equivalent of the US' NASA. Turns out that they do have a profile on our angkasawan.

But it's in Russian. So what does it say? What is the ROSCOSMOS calling him? A quick stint at Google Translator reveals that he is called... wait for it... "Participant space flight".

So... who's bullshitting who, Mr Minister?

He still sounds like jettisonable flotsam to me.

>>>>>Update 4 Oct 2007 4:30pm:>>>>>

I found the English pages on the ROSCOSMOS website. Hmmmph... it just got worse. The Russkis are calling him simply 'Flight Participant'. They can't be bothered so much so that they even left out the word 'Space'.

And guess what? Faiz, our Angkasawan #2 is called... 'Flight Participant Backup'. WTF?... Luggage also need backup?

Also read The Star for an account of the Russian Ambassador to Malaysia trying to back up our Minister by contradicting ROSCOSMOS.



South Ocean said...

The google translation could be done by the ghost of Atlantunya...

x-eyed jules said...

sure or not he will be useless? now foreign bimbos will think Malaysian men look like him.

seantang said...

You mean they'll think we're all HIMBOs?

seantang said...

For a non-Wiki definition of what's a space flight participant, and a distinction between an expedition or visiting crew member, have a look at the following document. It's a 2001 document stating the principles and definitions behind ISS (Internatinal Space Station) Crew Criteria.

My england may not be as powerful as our ministers... or the Russian Ambassador, but our Angkasawan looks like a Visiting Space Flight Participant to me.

Anonymous said...

Malaysia's astronought, cosmonought, taikonought, tehtariknought, angkasawanought ......

Crankshaft said...

Frankly, sending someone up into space is completely worthless as both Americans and Russians are too careful with their information to allow much of a "technology transfer".

We won't gain any legitimate experience. And if we live in denial, we could probably convince ourselves that we're ready for space.

But really, it is an exercise in futility. And no, there is no envy involved.

What a lot of money being wasted on our ego programme.

Anonymous said...

here is the link from the Russian Space Agency :

it clearly says our so called angkasawan is a flight participant, and the other guy is backup participant.

Now, Mr. Jamaluddin Jarjis, what have you to say... you are the one who said that all that matters is that the Russians call him a cosmnonaut.. but they dont it seems... and you being a mere minister, had the guts to say "we dont care what NASA has to say".... NASA has been in the SPACE business for 50+ years.. how long have you been in the business mr jarjis? so much ego over nothing but bullshit....

p/s : if the page displays in russian language, click on the england flag on the top right hand corner for the english version....

also click on their profile... it says that they are flying as an agreement with the russian government.....