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SKorea's first astronaut in hospital with back pain

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) April 29, 2008
South Korea's first astronaut Yi So-Yeon has been admitted to hospital with severe back pains caused by her rough return voyage to Earth, officials said Tuesday.

The state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute said Yi is undergoing MRI and other scans at an air force hospital to determine the exact cause of her discomfort.

"She has complained of considerable back pains and will have to cancel all her appointments for the time being, including visits to the presidential office and TV interviews," a doctor at the military hospital was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying.

Yi and two colleagues returned to Earth in what some Russian media called a dangerous re-entry on April 19, when her Russian-designed Soyuz capsule landed hundreds of kilometres off target.

Interfax news agency said the capsule was facing the wrong direction when it entered the atmosphere, depriving it of the protection of its heat-resistant shield.

The landing subjected the crew to huge gravitational forces, and experts quoted by Yonhap said that Yi may have received more shock than the other two members as the capsule hit the ground near her seat.

Yi told an airport press conference on her return home Monday that she has some lingering pain.

The 29-year-old biosystems engineer carried out 18 experiments, including biological, geophysical and medical tests, during her nine-day mission at the International Space Station orbiting the Earth.

South Korea paid some 20 million dollars for her mission, becoming the 36th country to send a astronaut into space.

Seoul is scheduled to launch a satellite later this year from its own space centre, under construction at the country's southern tip. It plans to launch a lunar orbiter by 2020 and send a probe to the moon five years after that.

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Mission To Space May Not Be A Manned One: ISRO
Bangalore, India (PTI) Apr 28, 2008
India's much awaited mission to space, planned to be launched in 2015, may not be a 'manned' one as ISRO is not sure whether it would be a man or a woman who will have the privilege of being an astronaut for this ambitious programme. Faced with the dilemma, ISRO has now renamed its mega venture, costing around Rs 10,000 crore, as 'Indian human space flight', which ISRO officials hope would satisfy die-hard feminists!

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