On April 10th, 29-year-old South Korean bio-engineer Yi So-yeon became the country’s first astronaut. On Monday, she became the first South Korean to be scared shitless by a rough return to planet Earth.
“During descent I saw some kind of fire outside as we were going through the atmosphere,” said Yi So-yeon, a 29-year-old bioengineer. “At first I was really scared because it looked really, really hot and I thought we could burn.”
But then she said she noticed it was not even warm inside the Soyuz capsule. “I looked at the others and I pretended to be OK,” Yi said.
As it turned out, Yi had every right to be a little freaked out. She and the capsule’s passengers — American astronaut Peggy Whitson and Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko — were subjected to gravitational forces 10 times greater than what is experienced on Earth for three and a half hours. A technical glitch caused the craft to take a steeper than usual decline and sent its landing 260 miles off course.
All three members are fine, though were a little shaken up upon emerging from the TMA-11 space craft. Though everyone was okay, this is the third time since 2003 that the Soyuz capsule has had a balky landing. Maybe someone should get that checked.