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Scrap unlucky 13th mission: Russian space chief

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) April 14, 2008
The next Russian spacecraft should be renamed to avoid the traditionally unlucky number 13, believes the head of Russia's space agency.

"In Russia, many people have superstitious beliefs -- black cats, Mondays, the number 13. That's why I think that it is a good idea to change the number of the next space ship," said Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, according to his press secretary Alexander Vorobyov on Monday.

The first South Korean astronaut Yi So-Yeon went into space earlier this month on a Russian spacecraft called the Soyuz TMA-12. The next mission should be called Soyuz TMA-13.

"I support the idea that it should be Soyuz TMA-14," said Perminov.

Superstition is not uncommon among astronauts, who observe good-luck rituals at the Soviet-era Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before take-off.

For example, on their last evening before launching, astronauts watch the classic Soviet movie "White Sun of the Desert." The film gained a reputation for bringing luck in the wake of the June 1971 Soyuz 11 accident that killed three cosmonauts.

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South Korean To Star In Space Sing-Song
Moscow (AFP) April 12, 2008
South Korea's first astronaut, Yi So-Yeon, was to star Saturday in celebratory sing-song aboard the crowded International Space Station (ISS) as back on Earth Russia marked the 47th anniversary of sending the first man in space.







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