Korea to Put a Person in Space

      November 23, 2005 19:21

      Korea has decided to put out an open application for the country's first person in space. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute made the announcement on Tuesday.

      The ministry said the opportunity to become the first two Korean astronauts will be open to all citizens from the age of 19 with qualifications in science and foreign languages. Based on resumes, it will narrow the field to 300 applicants in the first stage of selection.

      The second stage will include a written general knowledge exam and a physical, which will narrow the field to 30 people. By next March, five candidates should be left over after a close examination by the Air Force, with the two finalists to be picked by authorities in cooperation with the Russian Space Agency. They will go through space adaptation training at Russia's Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center from April 2006 to March 2007.

      One of the two will orbit the Earth for about two days aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with two other foreign astronauts and dock at the International Space Station (ISS) 350 km away from terra firma. There they will spend seven or eight days performing experiments decided through experts' recommendations and selected via an idea contest among young adults.

      "Though rather late in the day, we are producing domestic astronauts to match our national clout, making Korea the 10th country to conduct scientific experiments in space."

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