Korea’s Yi to be Hospitalized for a Week; Whitson Describes Landing

Korea’s first astronaut, Yi So-yeon, is expected to be hospitalized for a week to recover from back injuries she suffered from the rough re-entry and landing of her Soyuz spacecraft on April 19, Telecoms Korea reported.

The Korean government says that Yi suffered from mild dislocation and bruising of the vertebrae. She is being treated with physical and drug therapy as well as acupuncture at an Air Force hospital in Cheongju, 137 kilometers southeast of Seoul. She entered the hospital on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, American astronaut Peggy Whitson has described the rough re-entry and landing, during which the crew was subjected to more 8 Gs – 8 times the force of gravity. It was a lot to handle for Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who had both spent 192 days in space.

Whitson told Florida Today that the re-entry started later than expected – which indicates that the Soyuz descent module didn’t separate properly from the rest of the spacecraft. Soyuz then entered a “ballistic trajectory” – a preprogrammed maneuver when the re-entry module doesn’t separate as planned.

“Landing was pretty much the car crash that everybody described to me…I had no sensation of the bounce part of it, but I definitely had the senation of a lot of rolling going on after that first hit,” Whitson said.