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SKorea's first astronaut suffers back injury: doctor

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) April 30, 2008
South Korea's first astronaut Yi So-Yeon is suffering from back injuries after a gruelling descent to Earth, a doctor said Wednesday.

Yi's Russian-designed Soyuz capsule landed hundreds of kilometres off target on April 19 in an irregular landing that subjected the crew to huge gravitational forces.

She was admitted to an air force hospital Tuesday after cancelling television interviews and a visit to the presidential office.

Hospital director Colonel Jung Kee-Young said that Yi was suffering from mild dislocation and bruising of the vertebrae.

"The hospital cannot release detailed medical information about a patient or her condition, but the injuries are not severe and do not pose a serious health risk," he told Yonhap news agency.

Yi is undergoing physical and drug therapy, coupled with acupuncture, Jung said, adding her condition has been improving.

The 29-year-old biosystems engineer carried out 18 experiments 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.

Yi told a press conference on her return home Monday that she has some lingering pain after the landing.

Experts quoted by Yonhap said she may have been more affected by the landing than the other two crew members as the capsule hit the ground near her seat.

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SKorea's first astronaut in hospital with back pain
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.

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