Reminiscing Malaysia's moments of success in producing National astronauts in 2007 definitely brings back good memories to all Malaysians. For the first time ever Malaysian astronaut managed to land in space. Malaysia has made a mark. Nevertheless, the story behind the success is Malaysian government‘s efforts as well as the determination by a person by the name of Datuk Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.
More than 11,000 applications were received online, and 435 people went on to the first screening, whereby only 199 were qualified. The second screening was the Basic Medical Test based on the NASA Programme Requirements which include eye and urine tests - 194 were tested and only 59 passed. Finally after numerous tests Datuk Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was announced as the first National astronaut by Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister then.
Boarding Soyuz TMA-11 into space, the Kuala Lumpur-born astronaut conducted experiments pertaining to liver cancer cells, leukemia cells and experiments involving microbes and the crystallisation of protein, lipase enzymes while he was at the International Space Station (ISS).
"I studied at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) Muar from 1985 to 1989 and throughout my 5 years of studying in the full boarding school, there were a lot of unforgettable sweet memories, guidance and practices which I gained from that school. It was in that school too that I learn living as a family regardless of ranks and wealth. All students were treated equally and we always helped each other in achieving our dreams. As an alumni of Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM), I find that MRSM has a unique educational system which we should be proud of as it has managed to produce intellectuals among rural students. Congratulations to MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat) on its efforts which have now shown success," said the former student of Sekolah Menengah Sains MARA Muar during an interview.
This third child out of five also completed his studies at the Kastuba Medical College, Manipal, India and is an orthopedic surgeon and a training medical lecturer at the Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM). He is married to Datin Dr. Halina Mohd Yunos and has two children.