Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yi hosptialized with back pain, Soyuz re-entry effects still liner

As reported yesterday, ahead of meetings in Seoul with government officials and with United Nations Secretary General Moon, South Korea's first astronaut, biochemist Yi So-Yeon complained to reporters of lingering effects and pain from her return to Earth, April 19, on Russia's Soyuz, together with ISS Expedition 16 veterans American commander Dr. Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko.

Now AFP has reports Yi has been hospitalized because of her pain and will undergo MRI testing and a diagnosis followed by recommended treatments.

The Soyuz had been docked on the International Space Station for six months, and Roscosmos has disclosed, after a preliminary investigation, the Soyuz TMA's habitation module may have failed to completely separate from the re-entry section and may have accompanied the flight crew through a steeper, slower and violent re-entry "without benefit of a heat shield."

More likely the Soyuz was required to re-enter later and on a path ultimately steeper, slower and hotter.

A re-entry without some heat shield protection is unlikely though the main hatch was nearly burned through, and the failure of the habitation and forward section of the Soyuz system to perform properly has been traced as the problem causing similar "ballistic" re-entry in two other Soyuz returns to Earth after extended power-downs in orbit.

NASA continues to express confidence Roscosmos will ultimately trace and solve the problem.

Dr. Peggy Whitson ended her second record-breaking flight, serving as commander of the ISS, watching a metered 8.2 gees during the "emergency" re-entry. A nominal Soyuz re-entry peaks only far more briefly and with the crew experiencing slightly under 4 gees, and for a shorter period.

The rapid slowdown and whatever other unusual conditions experienced by Yi, who was ending a nine day stay on the ISS, caused a landing 295 miles from target and nearly fifteen minutes late.

AFP reports, South Korea's first astronaut Yi So-Yeon has been admitted to hospital with severe back pains caused by her rough return voyage to Earth, officials said Tuesday. The state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute said Yi is undergoing MRI and other scans at an air force hospital to determine the exact cause of her discomfort.

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