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2008/04/08 20:42 KST
S. Korea becomes 36th country to send astronaut to space

   BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, April 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea became the 36th country to send a person into orbit with the launch of its first astronaut from a space center in central Asia on Tuesday.


Russian space authorities confirmed that the Russian Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft blasted off successfully from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Space Center at 11:16 Greenwich Mean Time, and has entered a stable orbit around Earth.

   The spacecraft carrying Yi So-yeon and two Russian cosmonauts reached its initial orbit of 240 kilometers from Earth less than 10 minutes after launch.

   The spacecraft will circle Earth 34 times before docking at the International Space Station at about 13:00 GMT on Thursday.