Yi So-yeon Status: Retired 6/2/1978 – Nationality: South Korean Type: Government Agency: Korean Astronaut Program Yi So-yeon (born June 2, 1978) is an astronaut and biotechnologist who became the first Korean to fly in space. Yi was one of the two finalists chosen on December 25, 2006 through the Korean Astronaut Program. On September 5, 2007, the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology chose Ko San, over Yi So-yeon, following performance and other tests during their training in Russia. On March 7, 2008, she was selected to train with the primary crew, and on March 10 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that Yi would replace Ko. This was after the Russian Federal Space Agency asked for a replacement, because Ko violated regulations several times at a Russian training center by removing sensitive reading materials and mailing one back to Korea. On April 8, 2008, Yi was launched into space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with two Russian cosmonauts. South Korea is reported to have paid Russia $20 million for Yi’s space flight. She is the third woman, after Helen Sharman of the United Kingdom and Anousheh Ansari an Iranian American, to be the first national from their country in space.