Well, like it or not, we called Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor as an astronaut. Why not?. He has been to Space...and to me as long he has been out of of this world...he is called an astronaut.
Confusion..Confusion....Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar roled aboard Soyuz and the ISS is referred to as a spaceflight participant in English-language Russian Federal Space Agency and NASA documents and press briefings.
Spaceflight participant is the term used by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA) for people who travel aboard space missions coordinated by those agencies who are not part of the crew. The term serves to distinguish tourists and other special travelers from the career astronauts.
The Expedition 16 crew members pose for a portrait at the Johnson Space Center. From the left (front row) are Russia's Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, flight engineer and Soyuz commander; astronaut Peggy Whitson, commander; and Malaysian spaceflight participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. From the left (back row) are European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Léopold Eyharts, astronaut Garrett Reisman and astronaut Dan Tani, all flight engineers.
(Photo from NASA website)
As far as we and all people of Malaysia is concern...whatever term you are using...Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar is the Malaysian Hero and kids look up to him. He is our astronaut in our heart. Even my son want to be like him someday...a handsome astronaut...