Yi So-yeon (born June 2, 1978) is an astronaut and biotechnologist who became the first Korean to fly in space. Yi was one of the two finalists chosen on December 25, 2006 through the Korean Astronaut Program. On September 5, 2007, the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology chose Ko San, over Yi So-yeon, following performance and other tests during their training in Russia. On March 7, 2008, she was selected to train with the primary crew, and on March 10 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that Yi would replace Ko. This was after the Russian Federal Space Agency asked for a replacement, because Ko violated regulations several times at a Russian training center by removing sensitive reading materials and mailing one back to Korea. On April 8, 2008, Yi was launched into space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with two Russian cosmonauts. South Korea is reported to have paid Russia $20 million for Yi's space flight. She is the third woman, after Helen Sharman of the United Kingdom and Anousheh Ansari an Iranian American, to be the first national from their country in space.
Soyuz TMA-11 begins Expedition 16 by carrying 3 astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station. Russian Commander, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko alongside Flight Engineers, Peggy Whitson (NASA) & Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor (National Space Agency of Malaysia) will launch aboard the Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and then rendezvous with the station. It landed on April 19, 2008, 08:30 UTCLow Earth Orbit
Soyuz TMA-12 begins Expedition 17 by carrying 3 astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station. Russian Commander, cosmonaut Sergei Volkov alongside Flight Engineers, Oleg Kononenko (RSA) & Yi So-Yeon (KAP - Korean Astronaut Program) will launch aboard the Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and then rendezvous with the station. It landed on October 24, 2008, 03:37 UTCLow Earth Orbit
The Korean Astronaut Program was an initiative by the South Korean government to send the first Korean into space via the Russian space program. In 2008, Yi So-yeon became the first and only Korean to go to space for 10 days.