Korean Astronaut Program

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Korean Astronaut Program
Hangul 한국우주인배출사업
Hanja 韓國宇宙人輩出事業
Revised Romanization Hanguk ujuin baechul saeop
McCune–Reischauer Hankuk uchuin paech'ul saŏp

The Korean Astronaut Program was an initiative by the South Korean government to send the first Korean into space via the Russian space program.

First astronaut class[edit]

Yi So-yeon with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (right), Expedition 16 commander, and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (middle), flight engineer, at the International Space Station in April 2008.

On December 25, 2006, two candidates, one woman and one man, were selected by South Korea during a ceremony held at SBS television center in Dungchon-dong, Seoul. This choice was the result of a comprehensive selection process which started with the screening of 36,000 applications.[1]

Other finalists[edit]

The eight other finalists were:

First space mission[edit]

The winning pair was sent to Russia early 2007 to undergo a 15-month training course at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow.

On September 5, 2007, Ko San was named as the prime candidate, whilst Yi So-yeon served as his backup.[12] However, on March 10, 2008 it was announced that the prime candidate was changed to Yi So-yeon due to several violations of training protocol by Ko San. Ko San served as backup.[13]

On April 8, 2008 Yi So-yeon took off from the Baikonur[14] space center in Kazakhstan at 11:16 GMT aboard Soyuz TMA-12. She spent ten days conducting scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station.[15]

It cost South Korea approximately 26 billion won (28 million USD) to pay for the training and spaceflight.[citation needed]

Post-first mission[edit]

In 2014, Yi So-yeon resigned from the program, to pursue an MBA, which was incompatible with continuing as an astronaut.[16]


  1. ^ "lpage/tech/200612/kt2006122521203411810". times.hankooki.com. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  2. ^ Joachim Becker. "Cosmonaut Biography: Ko San". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  3. ^ Joachim Becker. "Cosmonaut Biography: Yi Soyeon". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  4. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Ji-young Park". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  5. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Seok-oh Yoon". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  6. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Jin-young Lee". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  7. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Jun-seong Jang". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  8. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Jeong-won Ryu". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  9. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Han-gyu Lee". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  10. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Ah-jeong Choi". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  11. ^ Joachim Becker. "Biographies of Astronaut and Cosmonaut Candidates: Young-min Kim". spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  12. ^ "YONHAP NEWS". english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  13. ^ "YONHAP NEWS". english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  14. ^ "BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | First S Korean astronaut launches". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  15. ^ http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/Engnews/20070405/660000000020070405200023E8.html
  16. ^ Brooks Hays (14 August 2014). "Yi So-yeon, Korea's first and only astronaut, resigns". UPI (SpaceDaily). 

External links[edit]