Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Very Rough Landing

Oh yeah, what ever happened to South Korea’s first astronaut Yi So-yeon, who launched into space on April 8? I asked myself that question yesterday, surfed around, and found these reports. Here. Here. And here.

Apparently, the 29 yr-old Ph.D graduate of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (so I guess she’s kind of smart) got a pretty good scare as the Soyuz TMA-12 re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Sat Apr 19. Due to still-unknown complications, the spacecraft went out-of-control and landed well short of the intended landing site in Russia. We’re talking 260 miles off course!! And the Soyuz ended up in Kazakhstan!!

Fortunately, everyone was OK. And when the astronauts cracked open the capsule door, the they were greeted by Kazah locals, who were probably quite surprised that martians do in fact look like humans. At any rate, I’m sure Borat must’ve had fun with that.

Kidding aside, Yi So-yeon was hospitalized today for severe back pains as a result of the landing. One of the reports said she probably absorbed more shock b/c the capsule hit the ground near her seat.

Let’s hope and pray that this talented young woman quickly restores to full health and goes on to have a long and successful career.

1 comment:

Joo-Eun Kim said...

The day after she returned, there was an article in the New York Times that described her as a "South Korean space tourist," similar to the American billionaire who paid to go to space on a Russian rocket a couple years ago. Do you think this idea is widespread? Because the South Korean government spent so much money on preparing experiments for her to conduct, and on making space kimchee, I am deeply troubled by the idea that people look at her as little more than a tourist.