23:51 GMT +323 January 2019
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    S. Korean astronaut says flames scared her during Soyuz landing

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    STAR CITY (Moscow Region), April 21 (RIA Novosti) - South Korea's first astronaut Yi So-yeon said Monday she was scared as she saw flames engulfing a re-entry capsule during her return to Earth along with two crewmembers on Saturday.

    The Soyuz-TMA-11 capsule, carrying U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko, and bioengineer Yi So-yeon from the International Space Station, made a bumpy re-entry Saturday landing 420 km (260 miles) off target in the steppes of northern Kazakhstan.

    Speaking at a press conference Monday in Russia's space training city in the Moscow Region, the South Korean astronaut, who spent 11 days on the ISS, said: "At first I was scared, but the other crew members looked okay, so I tried to look okay, too."

    The spacecraft should have landed to the north of the town of Artalyk, but it came down near the Kazakh-Russian border, southeast of the Russian town of Orsk, due to a "ballistic re-entry" scheme.

    During the ballistic landing, the capsule follows a much steeper descent trajectory, and the crew is subjected to much higher G-forces than normally experienced.

    An investigation will be conducted into the off-target landing. In October 2007, a Soyuz capsule carrying Malaysia's first astronaut also landed off course and in 2003, the crew had to wait for several hours until rescuers located them.

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