Aboard a SpaceX rocket, South Korea’s first lunar probe lifts off

SPACE – The Danuri orbiter, a contraction of Dal » which means Moon, and Nuri » which means take advantage, took off at 00:08 (GMT time) this Friday, August 5 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The spacecraft is expected to insert into the Moon’s orbit in December and is scheduled to perform multiple missions. A key step for Seoul’s space ambitions, which plans to land a spacecraft on the Moon by 2030.

This probe will have several objectives during this one-year mission. It will study the surface of the lunar soils, in order to identify future landing sites for future missions. It will also have to test a new space communications system resistant to disturbances. A world first according to the South Korean government.

K-Pop in space

The probe will also attempt to establish a wireless Internet environment to link satellites and other exploration vehicles in orbit. This connection will be tested by streaming the song “Dynamite” by K-Pop group BTS.

Another instrument, ShadowCam, will record images of regions of the Moon that are permanently in shadow. Scientists hope to find hidden sources of water and ice in these dark, cold regions near the poles.

Twelfth largest economy in the world, South Korea had largely lagged behind other Asian countries such as China in the conquest of space. “Danuri is just the start. If we are even more determined and committed to developing technologies for space travel, we will be able to reach Mars and asteroids in the near future,” said Lee Sang-ryool, president of the Korea Institute of Aerospace Research (KARI), in a pre-launch video.

If Danuri was launched by SpaceX, South Korea had successfully launched its first nationally designed rocket, Nuri, in June, which had put several satellites into orbit, after a failure in October. South Korea hopes that this mission will be a success in order to register the country in the conquest of the Moon by 2030.

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