Korea Yi So-yeon will launch to the International Space Station

The man intended to be the first South Korean in space has been grounded for violating security protocol and will be replaced by a female biotechnology engineer, the science ministry said on Monday.

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Ko San, 31, was dropped from the top pick for the April 2008 flight on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and is now the backup for the mission after he removed sensitive training material from a Russian centre, the ministry said.

"The Russians emphasised the importance of abiding by the rules, as even small mistakes can bring about grave consequences in space," an official told a news conference, adding Ko appeared to have made innocent mistakes.

Ko, a technology researcher and a bronze-medal winner in a 2004 national amateur boxing contest, is being replaced by Yi So-yeon, 29, who is finishing her doctorate.

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Yi will serve as a payload specialist with two Russian cosmonauts for a seven- or eight-day mission to the International Space Station.
The two were selected from a list of more than 36,000 candidates.

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The new primary candidate, 29-year-old Yi So Yeon, has trained for the 10-day mission side-by-side with Ko at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow. Ko is now the backup candidate to be on the spaceship Soyuz when it blasts off April 8 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


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Crew members of the 17th mission to the International Space Station (ISS) South Korea's first astronaut, biosystems engineering student So-Yeon Yi (top), commander Sergei Volkov (front) and Oleg Kononenko (C), both of Russia, wave as they board a Russian Soyuz rocket at Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, 08 April 2008. So-Yeon Yi will make a short term flight as her crew members Volkov and Kononenko will stay in the ISS for the 17th long-term mission.

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South Koreans are celebrating the launch of their country's first space traveler. Yi So-yeon has become the first South Korean woman to blast into orbit.
Yi is to return to Earth on April 19 along with two of the station's other current occupants, American astronaut Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko.

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UPDATE:19 Apr 2008
First South Korean astronaut returns to earth safely

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The Russian Soyuz spacecraft with South Korea's first female astronaut Yi So-yeon aboard landed safely in the Kazakh steppe on Saturday, according to the Mission Control Center.
The spacecraft carrying Yi, U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko undocked with the International Space Station (ISS) and started trip home earlier Saturday.
The Soyuz capsule landed in the Kazakh steppe at 12:51 Moscow time (0851GMT), 20 minutes later than the planned time and 420 km from the planned landing site, the Misson Control said.
Rescue and search groups have evacuated the cosmonauts from the capsule. The cosmonauts are safe and sound, federal space agency head Anatoly Perminov told a press conference at the Mission Control.

Whitson and Malenchenko have worked in orbit for more than 191 days, while Yi, a 29-year-old biosystems engineer, arrived at the ISS on April 10 together with Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, the ISS Expedition 17 crew who will work in orbit till next autumn.
The capsule descended a ballistic descent path. It is an envisaged landing case, but the cosmonauts could feel high acceleration force, experts said.
Ballistic path returning is a rare case, which happened only twice in the ISS history - in 2003 and 2007.


  1. Anonymous job said,

    2:45 PM

    are they the real astronauts? or they are just passengers..?

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    9:16 PM

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