Soyuz craft carrying South Korea's first astronaut docks at ISS

Other News Materials 10 April 2008 19:10 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The Soyuz craft carrying South Korea's first female astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts docked at the International Space Station (ISS) at 1300 GMT on Thursday.

After over two days flying aboard the cramped capsule, South Korea's Yi So Yeon planned to treat her colleagues to a feast of Asian specialities, including a de-bacterized sample of the classic pickle cabbage dish kimchi.

Yi, who lists singing along with Tae Kwon Do among her hobbies, said she would honour the anniversary of Russia Yuri Gragarin's first space venture Saturday with a performance.

"I hope the Russian and American guys will like my singing," she said at a news conference concluding her one-year of training at the Star City cosmonaut training centre near Moscow.

Bio-engineer Yi is to conduct 18 scientific experiments during her 12-day mission.

South Korea paid about 20 million dollars for her mission, which it hopes will kick-start its manned space programme.

Veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and US astronaut Peggy Whitson will accompany Yi back to earth ending their six month stay orbit on the space station.

The return crew will land back on the Central Asian steppes near the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome, which has been leased from Kazakhastan since Soviet times.

Remaining on the space station are Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Volkov, the son of former cosmonaut Alexander Volkov who was on the left on the last space mission form the USSR to return to a changed geopolitical map after 1991. Both Russians are first timers in space.