Soyuz Prepared for Historic Tuesday Launch

Russian technicians have rolled out a Soyuz rocket to the launch pad for an historic liftoff that will send the first South Korean and the first second-generation cosmonaut into orbit.

Yi So-yeon, a South Korean bioengineering student, will join cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko on a Soyuz TMA-12 flight to the International Space Station.

Volkov is the first second-generation space explorer. His father Alexander logged 391 days in space on three flights during the 1980’s and 1990’s. He was on hand Saturday to watch his son’s Soyuz rocket rolled out to the launch pad under a clear blue sky.

Sergei Volkov set to boldly go where his father went before

Sergei Volkov will become the first second-generation space traveler next month when he blasts off on an 11-day mission to the International Space Station.

The 34-year-old Russian cosmonaut will follow in the footsteps of his father, Alexander, who took off for the space station Mir in October 1991. By the time he returned in March 1992, the Soviet Union had collapsed and he had become a Russian citizen.

Sergei Volkov will fly to the station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with fellow Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and South Korea’s first astronaut, Yi So Yeon, a nano-technology engineer.

“I just want to perform as well as my father, because there are things that he has done that nobody has been able to copy,” Mr Volkov told The Times of London. “There are a lot of men here who trained me who were around to train my father, and sometimes, even involuntarily, they will say: ‘Well, today you did better than your Dad’. But in spite of that, as a professional I can only hope to earn as many accolades and achieve as much as my father did.”