South Korea Launches First Lunar Orbiter

South Korea launched its first moon mission on Friday, as its homegrown lunar orbiter took off aboard a SpaceX rocket in Florida.

“Danuri,” the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, was launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral US Space Force Station in Florida at 8:08 AM on Friday (11:08 PM GMT on Thursday), aiming to land a probe on the moon on 2030.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) developed Danuri, a 678-kilogram craft with six payloads and Korean equipment.

Danuri disconnected from the projectile about 40 minutes after launch and began communicating with a ground station around 9:40 AM.

Danuri will enter the moon’s orbit in December before embarking on a yearlong observation mission and search for possible landing sites for future missions, conduct scientific research on the lunar environment, and test space internet technology.

South Korea will become the world’s seventh lunar explorer and the fourth in Asia, behind China, Japan, and India, if the moon mission is successful.


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