Astronaut Loses Seat on Spacecraft

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea said Monday that a female engineer would become the country's first person in space by going aboard a Russian spacecraft, after Moscow rejected Seoul's first choice because he violated reading rules at a training center.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said at a news conference that Yi So-yeon would replace Ko San as the country's choice to fly on a Soyuz capsule to the international space station in early April.

South Korea originally named Ko as its candidate in September, but Russia's Federal Space Agency asked for a replacement last month because Ko violated regulations governing documents at a space center where the two South Koreans have been training, said Lee Sang-mok, a senior ministry official.

Russian authorities said Ko took his training manual out of the center without permission and sent it to his home in South Korea in September, Lee said. Ko later returned the manual, explaining that he accidentally sent it home together with other personal belongings, Lee added.