Two astronaut candidates will undergo a number of training sessions, including physical training and science experiments to adapt themselves to space life, at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia starting next April.
One of the two candidates will be selected as a first Korean astronaut in April 2007 at the earliest after taking an adoption program, and he or she will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) at an altitude of 350 km on board Soyuz, the Russian manned spacecraft.
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said that a Korean astronaut will stay on the ISS for around seven or eight days and will conduct various kinds of space science experiments.
Vice minister of the MOST, Choi Seok-sik, noted, Cuba, Vietnam and Mongolia have already produced an astronaut, and added that if the project goes successfully, Korea would become the 10th country to perform a science experiment in space.
So far, a total of 421 astronauts have come from 34 countries.
President of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) Chae Yeon-seok said, The selection of an astronaut, training, boarding, and space science experiments will enable Korea to secure future space utilization technology and raise public awareness about space development.
The MOST will let the committee for developing missions of astronauts select the space science mission.
For example, the germination of a plant seed or the hatching of a shrimp egg, work for elementary, middle and high school students, will be developed, and a plan to let the astronaut carry a digital camera and ginseng to advertise a private enterprise is also under consideration.
Any healthy person over 19 years old can apply for the first astronaut selection round to be held at the end of this month.
The MOST will soon announce the details for the test.