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South Korean astronauts for flight to ISS start training

RIA Novosti

07/03/2007 12:26 ZVYOZDNY GORODOK (Moscow Region), March 7 (RIA Novosti) - Two South Korean astronauts, one of whom will fly to the International Space Station (ISS), have started training in Zvyozdny Gorodok outside Moscow.

Only two successful candidates from 36,000 hopefuls were selected for the flight - Ph.D. Lee So-yeon, 28, from the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, and Ko San, 30, from the Samsung research center. The flight is planned for April 6, 2008, said Maxim Kharlamov, chief cosmonaut training expert.

The South Koreans will start studying Soyuz spacecraft systems as part of their basic training program in Zvyozdny Gorodok in April. They will also attend two training sessions at the Korean Aerospace Institute and a week-long course at the U.S. Johnson Space Center.

Both Koreans said they were delighted to represent their country.

"I am proud that I will be part of the Russian-Korean space program," said Ko San, who will spend almost 12 months at the Cosmonaut Training Center. "I am sure this will be an unforgettable experience," he said.

Under a contract between the Russian Federal Space Agency and the South Korean Space Agency worth $20 million to $25 million, only one of the astronauts will make the final flight to the ISS.

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