Korea launches first lunar orbiter
South Korea Launches Its First Lunar Orbiter Atop SpaceX Rocket
(Bloomberg) -- South Korea launched its first home-developed lunar orbiter Friday, becoming the seventh country to join the already competitive race to send spacecrafts to the moon.
The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, developed by Korea Aerospace Research Institute, lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 7:07 p.m. local time and successfully separated from SpaceX’s 549-ton Falcon 9 rocket around 45 minutes later, live broadcast of the launch showed.
Dubbed Danuri, which means moon and enjoy in Korean, the lunar orbiter is set to establish communication with the ground station before entering its planned trajectory 5-6 hours after the launch.
It will travel for four and a half months before entering lunar orbit to begin its mission in December, according to a statement from the science ministry.
Danuri’s missions include searching for possible landing sites as well as conducting a test space wireless Internet connect by playing BTS’s hit song “Dynamite” from the moon.
“It is a very significant milestone in the history of Korean space exploration,” Sang-Ryool Lee, president of KARI said in a pre-recorded video. “If we are more determined and committed to technology development for space travel, we will be able to reach mars, asteroids, and so on in the near future.”
The launch comes after South Korea launched its own fully developed rocket Nuri in June that placed a test satellite into the earth’s orbit. The country aims to eventually send an unmanned spaceship to the moon by 2030.
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