Learning English - Words in the News
10 March, 2008 - Published 14:22 GMT
South Korea swaps first astronaut
South Korea says its first astronaut will now be a female engineer. Their original candidate was rejected by Russian officials because he broke a number of their rules. This report from John Sudworth:
Ko San beat thirty-six thousand other hopefuls for the chance to become South Korea's first man in space. At a cost of twenty million dollars the thirty-one year old had been sent by his government to the Russian Federal Space Agency, training for a Soyuz rocket mission to the International Space Station in early April.
But following what are being described as breaches of protocol, the first South Korean in space will now be a woman, as Mr Ko is being replaced by his understudy on the training programme, a twenty-nine year old engineer, Yi So Yeon. The Russian authorities say that Mr Ko mistakenly sent a mission-training manual home along with his belongings, and then violated another rule by acquiring a document he was not authorised to see, reportedly a set of instructions for a spacecraft pilot.
The South Korean government says that these were minor violations, and that Mr Ko will remain on the Russian training programme, albeit now in the role of reserve astronaut. South Korea has ambitious plans for its space programme, and is developing its own rocket launching capability for sending satellites into low Earth orbit from later this year.
John Sudworth, BBC Correspondent, Seoul
breaches of protocol
violated another rule
was not authorised to see