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Learning English - Words in the News
10 March, 2008 - Published 14:22 GMT
South Korea swaps first astronaut
Astronaut Yi So-yeon
Ms Yi will replace Mr Ko

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:

Listen to the story

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

Listen to the words

people who are trying to be successful in and be chosen for something, often when only a very few people will be chosen

breaches of protocol
not doing things in the way they are officially supposed to be done

someone who will do someone else's job if they are sick or not able to do it

in error, by mistake

violated another rule
broke another rule


was not authorised to see
did not have permission to see

minor violations
not serious breaks in the rules

but, although

ambitious plans
challenging and exciting ideas for future developments

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