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8 Apr, 2008 14:48

Cosmonauts blast into space

Three cosmonauts have successfully blasted into space aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket. The launch in Kazakhstan was on-time and without any obvious hitches. South Korea’s first person in space and two Russian cosmonauts are bound for the International Space Station.

Yi So-yeon is due to return to Earth on April 19, but Russian Flight Commander Sergey Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, will remain in space for six months.

Before launch they were seen off by famous Russian cosmonauts, Aleksey Leonov and Valentina Tereshkova, the first ever woman in space.

The 17th ISS mission is taking over from Russia’s Yury Malenchenko and American astronaut Peggy Whitson, who will return to Earth with Yi So-yeon.

The Korean cosmonaut, who’s a PhD biology student, will perform a number of experiments during her stay on the ISS.

Sergey Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko will conduct around 50 scientific experiments and also conduct maintenance work at the space station.